On the domestic front, the people of Iran kept up the momentum with regards to the protests and anti-government demonstrations that rocked the country throughout all of 2018. The protests started in December 2017 and were dismissed by the Iranian regime as being harmless to its leadership. However, as time went on, officials in the regime began to admit that the people’s widespread discontent represented a great threat to its survival.
Protests about the poor economic situation became clear, loud and determined shouts for regime change and the people challenged the regime for its costly interventions abroad at the expense of the people. They also expressed their disgust at the widespread corruption that infects leadership at all levels.
The economic situation also declined throughout 2018, and the prognostic for this year is not much better. The crippling economic sanctions that the United States reapplied are really starting to take hold now. Trump explained that the aim of the sanctions is to cut the regime off from the funds it uses to support terrorism, malign acts and militias and proxy groups across the region.
Next month, the Iranian regime will celebrate its 40th anniversary of the revolution. This is a major milestone for the regime – four decades of rule. For the people, this marks a horrifying realisation that they have lived under oppression for four decades.
Many hope to witness major changes in Iran this year, including the main opposition to the Iranian regime – the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). For decades it has been supporting the people of Iran in their quest for freedom, democracy and human rights.
The opposition knows the regime more than any other group and it has revealed information about the regime’s belligerence – information that even foreign intelligence agencies never knew about, especially with regards to its nuclear program.
The NCRI has called on the people of Iran to continue pressuring the regime and to not go silent. It is a big ask of the people because they risk so much – literally arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution, but it is something that the people are prepared to do because they know there is no other option. Moderation is a myth.
The people have the support of the United States, but the European Union has been fairly silent with regards to their suffering. As recently as this week, officials in the EU have been working on options to continue trading with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions.
Society in Iran is really on the verge of eruption and 2019 will be a defining year for the people.