After almost three months of incessant turmoil, the revolution in Iran has now engulfed more than 280 cities in each of the country’s 31 provinces.
The savage crackdown by the theocratic regime’s security forces has led to the deaths of at least 700 people and a demand for a full-scale independent inquiry by the UN. 30,000 protesters have been detained. In Tehran, a spokesman for the mullahs’ judiciary, Massoud Setayeshi, confirmed this week that another five people had been sentenced to death for their role in the uprising, bringing the total number of death penalties handed down to protesters so far to eight.
The mullahs’ regime has executed over 500 people this year, in a wave of killing designed to crush opposition. Many of those sentenced have been accused of “moharebeh” or “corruption on earth,” a charge which carries the mandatory death penalty in Iran.
Undeterred, industrial action and boycotts by shop owners, hospital staff, factory workers, truck drivers and university students, in solidarity with the uprising, have developed into a general strike which has paralyzed the nation.
The clerical regime, led by the elderly and fanatical Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has oppressed and brutalized the Iranian people for four decades, but is now at its weakest point since the 1979 revolution that brought the mullahs to power. The daily mass protests resonate with chants of “Death to Khamenei” as demonstrators demand the downfall of the regime.
Unbelievably, instead of rallying to the support of the oppressed Iranian people, to help them achieve their objective of freedom, justice, democracy and a non-nuclear Iran, the Biden administration in America is still desperately searching for ways to appease the mullahs by resurrecting the zombie Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement.
The deal, signed by Obama in 2015 and unilaterally abandoned by Trump in 2018, was seriously flawed from the outset. The deal prevented inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from inspecting any sites controlled by the military inside Iran, where virtually all the theocratic regime’s top secret nuclear program was being developed.
Repeated intelligence reports exposed how the theocratic regime had no intention of curtailing its race to build a nuclear warhead and duped the U.S. and the EU into the lifting of crippling economic sanctions in exchange for signing the fake agreement.
When Trump re-imposed the sanctions in 2018, the mullahs pressed the panic button, clamoring for a renewed agreement. They are now openly boasting of removing IAEA surveillance cameras and claiming they have enriched uranium to 60% fissile purity, a fraction short of weapons-grade, in blatant contravention of the agreement.
Undiscouraged, the U.S. State Department continues to seek ways of raising the JCPOA from the dead. Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, dubbed “the butcher of Tehran,” for his key role in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners, is demanding that all sanctions be lifted before talks on the nuclear deal can resume.
He has found a willing interlocutor in Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, who said this week: “Until Iran is ready to return to full implementation of the JCPOA, we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to target exports of petroleum, petroleum products, and petrochemical products from Iran.”
Incredible as it may seem, the Biden administration is determined to continue with its “sticks and carrots” strategy when dealing with the mullahs, rather than simply wielding the big stick and helping Iran’s beleaguered population to achieve regime change, which would end the nuclear threat at a stroke.
Joe Biden and Antony Blinken, appear content to ignore how the mullahs’ regime sent an accredited Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, on a commercial airliner from Tehran to Vienna in 2018, with a fully primed 500 gm bomb in his diplomatic pouch.
When Assadi and three co-conspirators were sentenced to decades of imprisonment by a Belgian Court for attempting to kill and maim potentially hundreds of people at an Iranian opposition rally near Paris, attended by many prominent European and senior American VIPs, the Biden administration were nevertheless happy to resume the JCPOA talks in Vienna.
Biden and Blinken turned a blind eye while Iran poured money and troops into Syria to back Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war and sent cash and sophisticated weaponry to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
They remained unfazed as the Iranian regime sponsored and commanded the brutal militias in Iraq and provided limitless support for the terrorist Hezbollah organisation in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
Although the U.S. announced a range of new bans on December 5 against mainly Chinese companies who had violated Iran-related sanctions, it was done, according to Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson, as part of a “pressure campaign” to get Iran back into full compliance with the JCPOA.
It seems that Biden is desperate to see the talks resume, even if it means lifting sanctions, kick-starting the mullahs’ economy and bankrolling them once again with cash to fund their proxy wars and terrorist activities throughout the Middle East and worldwide and to continue their savage repression at home.
Compounding the policy of appeasement, Biden’s State Department Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, recently traduced the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the main Iranian democratic opposition movement whose courageous Resistance Units have spearheaded the nationwide insurrection. Malley parroted a list of outrageous falsehoods about the MEK that have been made repeatedly by the mullahs.
The Americans have a tarnished record when it comes to Iran. In 1953 the U.S. joined with British intelligence agencies to orchestrate a coup against Mohammad Mossadeq, Iran’s democratically elected prime minister. His ouster strengthened the oppressive rule of the Shah who was overthrown by the 1979 revolution. It would be a grave error for the U.S. to find itself once more on the wrong side of history in Iran.
Struan Stevenson was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). Struan is also Chair of the ‘In Search of Justice’ (ISJ) committee on the protection of political freedoms in Iran. He is the author of several books.