Regardless of its political diversity, the Iranian-American community has a common interest in a free and democratic Iran. Because of his Middle East policy, President Donald Trump has the best prospects from among the current candidates of helping Iranians inside Iran get rid of tyranny and achieve their longed-for goal of freedom and democracy. Which is why members of the Iranian-American community, regardless of their party affiliations, need to galvanize their resources in support of Trump’s reelection.
About 1 million Iranian Americans constitute a vibrant, highly educated, and successful community. Despite their disagreements on certain issues, almost all are highly concerned about their country of origin, and wish for a day when Iran is free of the mullahs’ rule.
U.S.-Iran policy impacts significantly on the future of Iran and the ongoing Iranian dissident majority’s fight for freedom. Which is why the current presidential election is being especially closely monitored by Iranian Americans.
For more than four decades, U.S. policy on Iran has essentially been appeasement in various forms: the feeble response of the Carter administration to the taking of American diplomats as hostages was a forerunner to the concessions of the Reagan administration during the scandalous Iran-Contra affair; next came the appeasement of the mullahs’ so-called moderate president, Mohammad Khatami, during the Clinton administration, including blacklisting of the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), Iran’s main opposition group; the removal of Saddam Hussein resulted in handing over Iraq on a silver platter to the Iranian regime during the Bush administration; the icing on the cake came in the form of the plethora of incentives and bonuses given to the mullahs during the Obama administration in the course of the infamous Iran Deal.
It is within this long history of appeasement that Trump’s common-sense Iran policy of maximum pressure and standing with the people of Iran represents a major break, and a real opportunity for the freedom movement within Iran. Trump’s consistent and unequivocal support for Iranian dissidents protesting on the streets of Iran contrasts sharply with previous administrations, especially with President Barack Obama’s refusal to side with the people of Iran during their nationwide protests in 2009.
A Big Difference
The contrast between Trump’s Iran policy and his rivals’ plans can best be seen in the aftermath of the airstrike that eliminated Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani, first designated a terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007 — under George W. Bush — based on his role as commander of the Quds Force. Soleimani was designated as a terrorist again in 2011 — under Obama — for his role in the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s tweeted response to the elimination of Soleimani was: “Donald Trump has ripped up a nuclear deal that was working. He’s repeatedly escalated tensions … He’s been marching toward war with Iran since his first day in office.” Warren, committed to the resuscitation of the nuclear deal, calls the elimination of Iran’s top terrorist the assassination of a “senior foreign military official.”
Her rival in the race for president, New York Sen. Bernie Sanders, had this response: “Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.” Sanders also described the airstrike as an “assassination.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the onetime frontrunner, said, “President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox,” predicting that “The Administration’s statement says that its goal is to deter future attacks by Iran, but this action will almost certainly have the opposite effect.”
The responses by Sanders, Biden, and Warren make it clear that, if elected, their idea of an Iran policy would be a return to the same old, same old, i.e., appeasing the mullahs.
Iranian Americans can express their shared interest in helping the people of Iran achieve freedom and democracy by helping elect a U.S. president who sides with those who risk their lives by standing against the ruling tyranny in Iran.
Shahram Ahmadi Nasab Emran, M.D., M.A., Ph.D. (c), is a doctoral candidate at Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics, Saint Louis University. He has participated in international policy forums, including the Policy Studies Organization’s annual Middle East Dialogue conferences, and has written for multiple Iranian news outlets.
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