Is Iran On Verge Of Revolution?

Mideast: While the U.S. remains focused on immigration and a Supreme Court vacancy, Iran is in the middle of a major social convulsion that’s verging on a revolution. Last time this happened, President Obama ignored it. This time, the U.S. supports those in the streets

In recent days, headlines such as “In Iran, revolution is starting in the bazaar,” “Clashes Continue in Iran for Third Day After Grand Bazaar Merchant Protest,” and “Tehran’s Grand Bazaar Shut Down As Economic Protests Spread,” have run in global media, with little apparent notice.

It’s a big deal. A very big deal.

The 39-year-old dictatorship of the Mullahs in Tehran may be on the verge of dissolving, as Trump imposes new, stiff sanctions on Iran’s economy and Iran’s currency, the rial, plunges sharply, prices soar and the economy collapses. Average Iranians are losing faith in the governmentand taking to to the streets.

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, its central meeting place and business center, has been filled with tens of thousands of angry protesters nearly every day. Yet, the media are paying little attention. Neither are average citizens in the West. But it bears close watching.

Some chant anti-government slogans, including “The enemy is here. They (the regime) lie that it is the U.S.” Not lost on average Iranians is the fact that, as Najmeh Bozorgmehr writes in the Financial Times, “The bazaar played a crucial role in the 1979 Islamic revolution when traders joined forces with the clergy to overthrow Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.”

Is history repeating itself?

If so, this will remake the entire Mideast. Without the fundamentalists in power, Iran will almost certainly begin modernizing both its economy and its culture. Moreover, the nuclear weapons program that is at the heart of western discontent with Iran could be dismantled.

Last time, the U.S. sat and watched, not giving its ally, the Shah, any support. This time is different.

The U.S. Treasury under President Trump has already begun to revoke licenses, according to the Associated Press, that let U.S.-controlled foreign companies sell commercial jet parts and oilfield gear to Iran. It also bans sale of Iran’s famous carpets, pistachios and caviar in the U.S., major exports for the financially troubled nation.

This follows Trump’s decision in May to pull out of President Obama’s so-called Iran nuclear agreement. That deal didn’t halt work on a nuclear weapon; it merely postponed an Iranian nuke by 10 years.

Despite criticism from Britain, China, Russia, Germany, France and the European Union, Trump held fast. Angry rhetoric notwithstanding, foreign banks have fallen into line, fearing sanctions from the U.S. Two-thirds of all global trade is conducted in dollars. As sanctions bite and its oil industry struggles, Iran’s mullahs are short on cash.

By these moves, Trump has empowered the people taking to the streets in Tehran and elsewhere. The last time this happened, during Iran’s 2009 “Green Revolution,” by comparison, President Obama did nothing. Indeed, within years, Obama had signed a Neville-Chamberlain-style appeasement deal Iran’s leaders. Disgracefully, it basically gave them a sure path to a nuclear bomb.

It is one of the reasons why Obama and his two Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, will go down in history as the most gullible foreign policy-makers in this nation’s history. And that’s saying a lot.

We had high hopes in the early 2000s when a journalist with access to the White House intimated to us that “President Bush wouldn’t kick this can (Iran) down the road.”

He knew the nuclear problem was serious. But he did nothing.

Obama was worse by far, actually empowering the Mullahs, and giving them unparalleled influence across the Mideast. He further empowered them by giving them access to more than $100 billion in frozen assets, plus billions in aid, some of which made its way to terrorists.

Iran Non-Appeasement

Now Trump’s new policy of non-appeasement is taking all that back, yet another reason for being happy that he won and not Tehran-friendly Hillary Clinton. This is a huge issue, since hundreds of thousands of Iranians fled post-Shah Iran for the U.S., and now make America their home.

As Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council wrote this week,  the U.S. has the opportunity to use the Persian-language broadcasting power of the U.S. government, through its Broadcasting Board of Governors. Already, it plans a 24-hour Farsi channel and digital outreach.

And both Vice President Pence and former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster showed up on Farsi-language media to support Iran’s protesters. It’s an important move, on par possibly with President Reagan’s support of Solidarity protesters in Poland during the early 1980s.

By isolating Tehran’s regime, Trump is enabling the Iranian people in their quest for freedom and modernity. We wish them well. Iran is an ancient civilization stretching back thousands of years. It deserves better.

Courtesy :https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/iran-protests-revolution/

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