By INU Staff
INU - Protests and unrest marked the start of the new year in Iran. Demonstrations against economic hardship soon escalated to calls for regime change. This shows the scope of changes occurring in the Middle East and puts Western leaders to the test.
On Thursday in Mashad, the Iranian people began to show their resentment against the Islamic Republic’s funding of military intervention in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen at the expense of the populace.
Today, the Iranian people are largely the children of the Khomeini revolution of 1979, who have the strength, energy and the courage required to challenge the regime, and shows the widespread value of personal freedom and respect of individual rights. After nearly 40 years, Iranians retain the desire for freedom that led to the overthrow the Shah.
Iran showed its strength during the Syrian civil war, and threatens Saudi Arabia via Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have launched missiles at the city of Riyad. As well, Iranian forces, backed by Hezbollah, on Mount Hermon less than 10 km from Israel, displays regional tactical success. However, Iran’s military power is not backed by a solid economy or popular support. The anger of the younger generation who prefer the internet to sharia has manifest itself.
In June of 2009, the Green wave of Iranian protests challenged the regime, and opposed Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president. At that time, neither the United States or Europe took any action. While Iranians believed that the West would support them, they received no endorsement for their calls for freedom.
It is believed that the reason for this was the Vienna agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that occurred six years later. The agreement was meant to curb Iran’s attempt to produce nuclear weapons by ending sanctions that were crippling their economy. By remaining silent in the face of the repression of the Green movement, America, along with Europe, began their lean towards appeasement with the same regime that Iranians are now openly opposing, at the risk of their lives.
The Trump administration is facing an important decision. Will it immediately stand by the demonstrators, and will the White House succeed in making their words follow the facts? Europe is at a crossroads, as well. In their first statements from Berlin and Brussels, Europe has the opportunity to support the Iranian people, and show the regime that its ruthless pursuit of regional hegemony will no longer be tolerated.