September 26, 2022

Protests In Iran

“Iran's president has vowed to take action against protesters after more than a week of anti-government demonstrations. President Ebrahim Raisi pledged to ‘deal decisively’ with the protests, which have now spread to most of Iran's 31 provinces. Officials say some 35 people have been killed since protests broke out over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody… Ms Amini had been detained for allegedly breaking headscarf rules. Officers reportedly beat her head with a baton and banged her head against one of their vehicles. The police have said there is no evidence of any mistreatment and that she suffered ‘sudden heart failure’.” BBC

Both sides condemn the Iranian government and urge the West to support the protests:

“This grim sequence of events, while predictable, is both infuriating and distressing, primarily for Amini’s family, but also for all those in Iran seeking to build an open society where human rights, and women’s rights in particular, are respected. Similar protests in the past, such as the Girls of Revolution Street movement in 2018, produced not change but renewed repression. It may be different this time…

“The bravery of young women in confronting the security forces and the so-called morality police (Gasht-e-Ershad or ‘guidance patrol’) is inspiring. They are supported by many young men and numerous others among an older population exhausted by severe economic hardship, official corruption and the illegitimacy of ruling politicians who stole the 2021 election… Ill health affecting Iran’s ultra-reactionary, 83-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggests change is coming. Now would be a good moment to rethink Iran’s future at home and in the world.”

Editorial Board, The Observer

“The Guardian reported that preliminary CT scans of Amini’s head revealed a bone fracture, hemorrhage and brain edema. But those who have lived under the Iranian regime don’t need forensic evidence. They know the terror women face, physically and psychologically, every day. It is so common that everyone has either experienced it firsthand or knows someone close who has. The Iranians risking their lives by taking to the streets are there to protest not only Amini’s death, but the threatened death all women face daily…

“And yet, Raisi was welcomed in New York at the U.N. while his police reportedly open fire on crowds protesting an innocent girl’s death. As Raisi spoke to the assembly, the government of Iran continued to disrupt internet connectivity to silence people who want to organize and communicate. In this silence, as it has in the past, the government commits atrocities. Yet the U.N. listened to Raisi talk about nuclear capabilities and human rights. Who in that audience of delegates, heads of states and dignitaries stood up and held him accountable for his abuses against the daughters of Iran? Who among them will listen, past Raisi’s empty promises, to their screams?”

Parnaz Foroutan, NBC News Think

“In the regular protests since 2009, there has on several occasions been optimism in the Iranian diaspora that something was about to shift, that the will of the people could no longer be stopped. And then again, the shooting begins, the Internet is cut off, power is held on to, and time and the public sentiments move on, and nothing changes… This week, for example, while protests continue in Iran — with women publicly burning their headscarves or cutting their hair — President Raisi is in New York, where this week he was pictured shaking hands with his counterpart in France, Emmanuel Macron…

“It is in moments like these when the international community just doesn’t seem to get it, doesn’t seem to hear the cries of the Iranian people, desperate for support from those abroad who have power to wield… All the while, a weary population continues to suffer under an oppressive regime, which will go to any lengths to protect its rule, and has no regard whatsoever for the will of the people.”

Steve Dew-Jones, The Critic

“Tehran continues to blame US sanctions for its economic woes. But it is regime corruption and mismanagement, compounded by the dangerous and expensive pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional influence, that have imposed suffering on tens of millions of ordinary Iranians. They have made clear, at protest after protest, that they understand and object to the harm this corrosive system inflicts on their families and their country…

“America should prove itself a partner to the Iranian people by releasing as much evidence as it can about the regime’s illicit activities. It should also intensify efforts to identify and freeze regime assets stashed overseas. This should be accompanied by an information campaign to help all Iranians understand just how much is being stolen from them. And the United States should assist Elon Musk with his offer to deploy the Starlink satellite broadband technology that proved so effective in maintaining Internet coverage across Ukraine. Iranians are not only protesting the theocracy that constrains them but the kleptocracy that impoverishes them. It is in America’s interests to help them defeat both.”

Nate Sibley, New York Post

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

[We should not] let our hopes blind us to all the dynamics at play…  The young Syrians and Egyptians who went into the streets to protest their governments were among the best and brightest of their generation. The problem that they faced, however, was that life under dictatorship had not allowed any alternative institutions to grow that could easily replace the tyrannies now in place. Independent political parties and trade unions that people could have otherwise rallied around were severely repressed or simply did not exist. In Egypt, this vacuum allowed the military establishment to step in and take control when the government lost power. In Syria, it resulted in violent anarchy…

“The goal of a dictatorship is to create social conditions where people are forced to choose between stable tyranny and ungoverned chaos. And this is not an easy choice; immiseration, of the human spirit and otherwise, can be found on either path. I’ve met more than a few people in Syrian refugee camps along the Turkish border who despised the Assad government to the core of their being, yet wished, in retrospect, that the revolution had not taken place…

“Destabilizing a country of 80 million people — not to mention one with an active nuclear program — could have profoundly negative effects for the world if there is no plan in place for a peaceful transfer of power.”

Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept

From the Right

“For those of you just tuning in: Iran has switched off the cameras that monitor its declared nuclear sites. Its nuclear centrifuges spin and spin. Its agents plotted to assassinate, on American soil, a former U.S. national security adviser and former secretary of state. Last month the decades-old fatwa of Iran's former supreme leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, inspired a 24-year-old New Jersey man to stab author and U.S. citizen Salman Rushdie 10 times at a public event in Chautauqua, New York. Last month, Iran sent its first shipment of drones to Russian forces…

These are not the actions of a state that will give up its nuclear ambitions and be brought into the fold of the ‘international community.’ They are the actions of a crazy state whose chief export isn't energy but terrorism, violence, and death. The malignancy of the Iranian government spreads beyond the nation's borders, for sure. But its primary victims are the Iranian people. They are the first to suffer the economic, social, cultural, and physical costs billed to the regime…

“The best course of action for the United States: End our nuclear negotiations with Iran, reinstate ‘snapback’ sanctions, reestablish a credible military threat, and demand that the Iranian government recognize the human rights and dignity of the Iranian people.”

Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon

On the bright side...

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.