Instead of taking responsibility for its actions, the Iranian regime has resorted to its usual tactics of blaming everyone but itself. It has said that the United States, the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are behind the protests and have helped with the organisation of them.
However, it is clear for everyone to see that the people have taken to the streets on their own initiative. The people’s anger has reached a point that they had to take matters into their own hands. They want to make their future positive and prosperous – not continue to live in poverty and suppression.
Behind its accusations, the Iranian regime knows fine rightly that this is why the people took to the streets.
The people have quite rightly spoken out against the regime. For many years, the people have been abandoned by their own government and they have waited for political reform. The international community picked up on the regime’s claims of “moderation”, especially when President Hassan Rouhani took office, and waited for moderation. The West and the United States talked about Iran’s moderation during the 2015 nuclear deal negotiations and stated it as a reason for giving so many concessions.
Yet, in all this time, we have never seen a hint of moderation. What will it take for the West to see that this supposed “moderation” does not exist? It is a label that the Iranian regime gave itself to take pressure off it from the international community.
The human rights situation in Iran is appalling and it is a disgrace that the Iranian regime is still in power. The people have no freedom in many respects of life and the execution rate is alarmingly high.
The US State Department’s annual human rights report in 2016 noted that the Iranian regime imposes “severe restrictions on civil liberties, including assembly, association, speech, religion and press”. It also points to the arbitrary arrests that take place on a regular basis and explains that there is prevalent politically motivated violence and repression. Security forces in Iran are able to operate with impunity.
The people of Iran want democracy too. The latest elections in which President Rouhani was “elected” for a second term were anything but democratic, despite the regime’s claims that they were. The person appointed as president of the country is basically selected from a small number of candidates that have been hand-picked by officials close to the Supreme Leader.
During the 2009 uprising in Iran, the people were met with silence from the international community. Alone, the people will struggle to tip the cruel and callous regime over the edge, but with a little support from the international community it will succeed.