Following a “good cop/bad cop” veiled threat from Iran by President Hassan Rouhani, who said on Sunday that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars”, it is clear that President Trump’s policies regarding Iran have put the squeeze on the Iranian regime.
Withdrawal from the “Iran Deal”, and increased sanctions, as well as seeming discussions between the US and Russia regarding Iran and Syria, have weakened Iran economically and politically, resulting in weakened trade agreements with China and Turkey, for example.
President Trump’s response to Rouhani:
A new report from Reuters suggests Trump’s administration has launched a campaign designed to topple Iran’s leaders.
Several officials told Reuters that Trump would pressure Iran’s leaders with tough sanctions and an information campaign meant to erode their support.
Recent statements from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicate this shift has already taken place, as the US expresses its hope for the Iranian people to install a more moderate, secular government.
Since late 2017, Iran has seen wave after wave of grassroots protests with citizens rejecting the regime’s economic, social, and foreign policies.
While European countries strongly opposed Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal, the threat of US sanctions has successfully made Tehran a pariah in the business world.
After Trump’s withdrawal, Iran’s currency ballooned and the government imposed a set of strict financial controls on its citizens, capping the amount of foreign currency they can hold and seizing overseas accounts.
As Iran’s working class rejects the government’s foreign-policy ambitions, the upper class has had its aspirations of foreign travel or education crushed by such financial restrictions. Iran’s government has responded to protests with security forces and violence time and time again, but the unrest has continued on a regular basis this year.
At the same time, Israel has proved adept at beating back Iran in its push toward the Mediterranean. In May, after a rocket attack that Israel attributed to Iran, Israeli jets devastated a large swath of Iranian forces in Syria.
Russia, normally a powerful ally of Iran, swiftly turned its back on Tehran, refusing to sell it air defenses even when its forces were coming under heavy fire from Israel and telling Iran’s militias to leave Syria.
Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, told Reuters that Trump’s strategy could produce one of two outcomes.
“Outcome one is capitulation, forcing Iran to further curtail not only its nuclear program but also its regional ambitions,” Sadjadpour said. “Outcome two is the implosion of the Islamic Republic.”
He concluded his remarks with these words:
I thought I’d close tonight in a perfectly appropriate way by invoking the words of a man who routinely made the case for freedom and respect far more eloquently than I ever could, President Ronald Reagan. In 1982 – (applause).
In 1982, President Reagan gave a speech to the British Parliament that became known as the Westminster address. He urged other Western governments to support those around the world trying to break free of tyranny and injustice. His reason why was simple and powerful. He said, “Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable right and universal right of every human being.”
This is why we also call on all governments to end their flirtations with a revolutionary regime and come quickly to the aid of the Iranian people. (Applause.) On that same day in those same remarks, President Reagan said, “Let us ask ourselves: ‘What kind of people do we think we are?’ And let us answer, ‘Free people, worthy of freedom, and determined not only to remain so, but to help others gain their freedom as well.’”
Today, the United States condemns oppression levied on the Iranian people by those who rule unjustly, and we proudly amplify the voices of those in Iran longing to have those inalienable and universal human rights cease to be ignored and instead to be honored. We do so knowing that many in the streets and marketplaces speak for those who the regime has permanently silenced over the years – who may even have been loved ones who are in the audience tonight.
It’s America’s hope that the next 40 years of Iran’s history will not be marked by repression and fear – but with freedom and fulfillment – for the Iranian people.