The former U.S. administration believed that the agreement would encourage moderation in the regime’s actions and behavior, but instead Tehran has demonstrated that reform is not their aim. They have been busy improving its ballistic missile system and meddling in the Middle East, particularly Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.
“Moderation” was ploy by Iran to influence the international community into giving them concessions, but Iran gave little in return. During the negotiations, human rights issues were not addressed, and rights violations continue under the the regime. Execution numbers have risen, and political prisoners continue to be imprisoned for speaking out against the regime. Repression of religion persists, as well as many personal freedoms, like how someone must dress and think, have been relentlessly maintained during the “moderate” presidency of Rouhani.
Meanwhile, a divide and power struggles are occurring within the regime, as hard-liners fight Rouhani’s plan of increasing foreign engagement and investment.
Partnering with North Korea, ballistic missile research goes on unabated under Rouhani’s tenure, which has seen a repressive crackdown on activists, artists, academics, journalists, and anyone who has been accused of having ties to the West. Recently, there have been several arrests of dual citizens and American citizens, who have been accused of being threats to Iran’s national security.
Iran’s regional actions after the nuclear deal include their support of Assad in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The U.S. has been encouraged by various leaders to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. Considering the IRGC’s financial entanglement in Iran’s economy, this may hit Iran in its pocketbook, and bring the regime to the bargaining table. However, Iran calls the attempts to blacklist the IRGC a violation of the nuclear agreement.
As noted during the Arab-Islamic summit with US President Donald Trump, Iran was excluded, and many nations are standing firm to isolate the regime. The question is, “What’s next?” A democratic alternative to the current regime is what is needed, and there is one, waiting in the wings.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is made of Iranians from all walks of life. It is a peaceful movement, focused on regime change to create a democratic and non-nuclear Iran. Several members of the international community have encouraged the U.S. to embrace the NCRI as the alternative to the current regime. In fact, on July 1st, 2017, the NCRI held its “Free Iran” gathering in Paris, where tens of thousands gathered, including members of the international community, to support this movement for leadership change in Iran. NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi praised the international community for rejecting the JCPOA’s strategy of “appeasement” and affirmed the NCRI’s commitment to replacing Iran’s religious dictatorship. The Iranian people are suffering the most under the regime, she noted, because of its repressive tactics and the economic choices that’s left a large portion of the population struggling.
It should be clear after 38 years of clerical rule in Iran, that stability in the Middle East requires its removal, and any real change needs a democratic alternative.