By Jazeh Miller
The Trump administration announced last week that the “Iran Action Group” had been set up to deal specifically with foreign policy towards Iran and with the purpose of changing the regime’s behaviour. The group will be led by Brian Hook who was the chief of Policy Planning for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
President Trump is determined to bring a resolution to the issues with Iran and he recently said that he would be willing to set up a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss how to move forward. He has employed harsh rhetoric towards Iran but it is not enough. His approach needs to be followed through with a strong and all-encompassing strategy that is well thought out.
The role of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK), the main opposition to the Iranian regime, is vital. It understands how the regime works and it has a massive network of people inside the country. The MEK has revealed important information about the Iranian regime in the past, including extensive information about the regime’s nuclear program. Much of the information it has provided the West with is information that even intelligence agencies could not manage to obtain.
The Iranian regime views the MEK as a major threat to its existence. In 1988, the Iranian regime made a major attempt to wipe out the opposition in what has become known as the 1988 massacre. Around 30,000 political prisoners were executed after the Supreme Leader issued a fatwa ordering their deaths.
Members of the opposition have been supressed for decades and they are doing all they can to bring change to Iran. The people want freedom, peace, democracy, the respect of human rights, and equality. These are all denied to the people under the clerical regime, but they are values that are deemed essential by the MEK.
Brian Hook is in the best position to move the Trump administration’s policy towards Iran forward. He is an expert on Iran and is not fooled by the Iranian regime’s claims of moderation. He is aware that many of the officials in the Iranian regime are able to fool Western officials into believing their claims of moderation.
Now is also the perfect time to bring a task force into the ring because Iran is under immense pressure. Aside from the domestic pressure that has been mounting since December last year when the people of Iran participated in widespread protests and anti-government demonstrations, the regime has been put under immense economic pressure by the United States with the first batch of sanctions that were put into place at the beginning of the month.
It is also facing pressure in Syria and Iraq. It has suffered a number of setbacks mainly because it has tried to take too much in one go. It took advantage of the war against the Islamic State group (ISIS) and expanded further and further into Syria and Iraq. Now is the time to curb the regime now that it has bitten off more than it can chew.