Two Years after Nuclear Deal, Iran Seeking Regional Dominance
By Keyvan Salami
New York – July marks the second anniversary of the controversial nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).A deal which not only did not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but it only delayed it and at the same time provided billions of dollars to the regime to pursue its destructive policies in the region.
The Obama Administration and other advocates of the appeasement policy claimed that this agreement would bring serious changes to Iran’s behavior, including its actions in the Middle East. Two years on, it is increasingly evident that these claims, hollow and baseless on some levels, have fallen short.
The deal and the misguided policy that it influenced have emboldened Iran in many areas, especially its malign regional activities. The agreement not only failed to improve the Iranian people’s economic status, but it actually granted the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) billions of dollars to pursue its destructive policies in the region.
After spending the billions in windfall from the nuclear deal, Iran has begun meddling with its neighboring countries. Superficially, Iran has become a regional power, but what is the reality? Is Iran truly a regional powerhouse, and is there an ulterior motive behind the involvement in other countries’ affairs?
A quick look at Iran’s modern history suggests that its current actions in the region might actually signal that it possesses less power than is thought. Since the start of their rule, the mullahs based their regime on two pillars: crushing any domestic opposition and creating crises abroad. The adoption of such polices embodies the very nature of this regime. The mullahs’ regime is a backward-minded regime belonging to the Middle Ages which opposes social liberties and developments.
The system is based on Velayat-e Faqih (custodianship of the clergy) and it places all religious and legal authority in the hands of the Supreme Leader. What this means, in both theory and in practice, is that the Ali Khamenei (like Ruhollah Khomeini before him) plays a direct role in all the country’s affairs; and no individual, group, or committee in the country has the right to question or hold him accountable.
By contrast, Iranian society is a sizable demographic of young, highly educated citizens seeking increased development and more social liberties. This regime cannot match the contemporary society’s needs and considers force and suppression to be the only methods of maintaining their grip on power.
To perpetuate the systematic and widespread suppression inside the country, the mullahs rely on external crises to divert public attention. As a result, the “export of revolution”—more precisely the “export of terrorism”—and “creating crises outside of Iran” became Tehran’s official policy. There are numerous examples of the consequences of this policy.
The Iran-Iraq war, for example, lasted eight years, leaving millions on both sides either dead or injured, and many more displaced. Hundreds of cities and villages were destroyed, and damages were estimated at $1 trillion for Iran alone. It also contributed to the establishment of Hezbollah and general interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs, the rise of Houthis in Yemen, the ascendancy of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and the subsequent Syrian Civil War.
Former regime Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini described the war as “God’s blessing.” During the war, Tehran brutally crushed its opposition through mass executions; in the summer of 1988 alone, 30,000 political prisoners were massacred across the country. The victims were mainly members and supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI-MEK).
Other international crises have served the regime in the same way. Tehran has brought carnage and suffering to thousands of innocent people in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other Arab countries with their attempts to maintain their power.
Senior Iranian officials argue, “One reason we have been in Syria… and Iraq, and carried out these measures, is that instead of fighting the enemy in the streets of Tehran, Kermanshah, Arak, Qum, Sanandaj and Tabriz, we have taken the fight to Deir ez-Zur, Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs and Mosul….”
Iran’s tactics and daliances in other countries affairs are not due to the nation’s inherent strength. supporting regime change is the only real policy to stand against their export of terrorism.
Change to: Iran is not a regional power and its meddling in other countries affairs is not a sign of their dominance, but on the contrary it’s a smoke screen to hide their internal instability and weakness. As a result, the only real policy to stop Iran’s export of terrorism is a change in the government and regime in Iran.
The annual Iranian Resistance gathering on July 1 clearly demonstrated how regime change is within reach. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, was the keynote speaker of the conference. She emphasized that the only way to liberate the Iranian people from religious tyranny and to establish peace and tranquility in the region is to overthrow the Velayat-e faqih (absolute clerical rule).
The overthrow of this regime is necessary, feasible and within reach, and that a democratic alternative and an organized resistance exists to topple it, she underscored.
The parties behind the democratic alternative are working to establish freedom and democracy in Iran. Their plans will bring harmony to various ethnic groups, end discord and divide between Shiites and Sunnis, and eliminate tensions between Iran and its neighbors, Mrs. Rajavi concluded.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent any institution or entity.
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