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Tags: iran | protests | regime

The Iranian Protests, Nuclear Deal and Change From Obama to Trump

The Iranian Protests, Nuclear Deal and Change From Obama to Trump
A group of protesters chant slogans at the old grand bazaar in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 25, 2018. Protesters in the Iranian capital swarmed its historic Grand Bazaar, news agencies reported, and forced shopkeepers to close their stalls in apparent anger over the Islamic Republic's troubled economy, months after similar demonstrations rocked the country. (Iranian Labor News Agency via AP)

By    |   Friday, 13 July 2018 11:30 AM EDT

During a July 12 NATO summit it condemned Iran for harmful acts and its nuclear program.

On July 12, Sigal P. Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury, told journalists in Dubai that we wanted to disrupt the "despicable use of Iranian revenue" across the Mideast.

"You've seen the Iranian people, of course, stand up loudly, at risk of their own lives, shouting in protest about the corruption that's happening within Iran … Of course the fact (is) that so much money has gone to support malign activities elsewhere, with very little focus on the economy itself."

It is critical to find a way to accelerate regime change by Iranians. They seek free access to the internet and messaging applications like Telegram. Its main appeal is security. Telegram’s promoters claim all its activities — including chats, groups, and media — are encrypted. Even if intercepted, they won’t be visible, without being deciphered first.

As calls for freedom grow, how might we help a pro-democracy movement? By implementing measures to curb Iran’s cyberspace repression.

Belgian authorities arrested a couple and accused them of preparing a bomb attack in France, during a peaceful rally of Iranian dissidents on June 30. An Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was caught in Germany, after he provided explosives to the couple in Luxemburg, on his way back to Austria.

The top Ministry of Intelligence of Iran (MOIS) official who has been in charge of all Iran’s intelligence operations in Europe was caught with clear evidence against him. In 2012, President Obama’s Treasury designated MOIS for Human Rights Abuses and Support for Terrorism.

Allies of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), the largest group within the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), met in the French town of Villepinte, near Paris, attended by as many as 100,000 in audience and speakers from some 70 countries. The terror plot involved several governments, including Austria, Germany, and Belgium, to thwart the bomb plot by Tehran.

NCRI sources assessment of Iran’s MOIS: Austria is inclined to close the case in Iran’s favor soonest. And Germany has shown signs of willingness to resolve the case, by returning one of the alleged perpetrators to Austria; Dutch and Belgians opposed and demanded the “terrorist-diplomat,” be handed over to Belgium. But Brussels demurred.

Why would Iran target the NCRI? “Attention paid is fear indicated,” as the author points out in "Appeasing the Ayatollahs and Suppressing Democracy."

Tehran worries about demonstrators backed by NCRI, and uses violence against them. But they confront the regime, with peaceful protests, without such fears.

Among members of the American Delegation in Villepinte were former officials, including: Mayor Giuliani; Speaker Gingrich; Governor Richardson; Attorney General Mukasey; Director Freeh; Under Secretary Joseph; Sen. Torricelli, Col. (Ret.) Cantwell; Col. (Ret.) Martin; Chavez, Assistant to the President; Under Secretary Townsend; Amb. Bloomfield, and yours truly.

Third, there has been a change in Washington. In 2017, Trump succeeded Obama. One consequence is Trump’s Secretary of State was tougher on Iran than Obama’s.

The Argument

Expansion and acceleration of protests in Iran constitute a crisis for Iran and an opportunity to use people’s resentmen, as leverage against Tehran, per Tanter in Newsmax.

This ongoing crisis is an opportunity to change the regime from within. The people are in the streets to make their revolution happen, and they need political and technological support of the West.

There are three ways for Iranians to effect peaceful overthrow of the regime. At issue is when, not whether.

First, demonstrations beginning in December 2017 peaked during January; they were followed by a rising tide of protests, largely unreported by the media. They resemble 1979 ones, which effected the Islamic Revolution.

If one were to plot the curve of demonstrations, it would resemble a series of asymptotes of a hyperbola like mountain peaks, followed by valleys below, which are steadily rising with each iteration. A hyperbola is an open curve, which means branches of curves continue to infinity.

Applied to Iran, protests gradually rise, and hence are overlooked, as “just noticeable differences,” small changes, barely noticeable, and rarely described in the media.

Second, current demonstrations indicate Iranian protestors have turned the tide against Tehran. In "Every War Must End" Fred Ikle states wars end because one side emerges victoriously over the other, or both sides are exhausted from fighting.

Third, and likewise, every dictatorship must fall: One side appears successful over the other, or both are tired of struggling. Moreover, Iranians hold the unpopular regime in contempt. Indeed, rulers pay attention to a coalition of oppositionists, like the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) about twice as much as to other dissident groups. See "Appeasing the Ayatollahs."

The Way Forward

Per interviews conducted by yours truly, on June 30, it is critical to find a way to facilitate regime change by Iranians, e.g., provide them with free and secure access to the internet.

Protests are mounting, and Tehran is paying increased attention to its alternative, which plays a major role in organizing protestors. So, reach out to the NCRI.

The Tehran-directed terror plot against the Grand gathering in Paris is evidence of the regime’s fear of the NCRI. Otherwise, why target this organization?

In light of the duty of Congress to engage in oversight, by passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Congress can engage White House officials on implementation of the [unsigned] agreement.

This is the time for President Trump to stand with the opposition, even more, and build a stronger relationship with it. Iranians need help to finish the job, with their escalating, expanding, and continuous protests for a free Iran.

Prof. Raymond Tanter (@ProfRTanter) served as a senior member on the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration, Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense to international security and arms control talks in Europe, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Tanter is on the comprehensive list of conservative writers and columnists who appear in The Wall Street Journal, Townhall.com, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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This is the time for President Trump to stand with the opposition, even more, and build a stronger relationship with it. Iranians need help to finish the job, with their escalating, expanding, and continuous protests for a free Iran.
iran, protests, regime
Friday, 13 July 2018 11:30 AM
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