President Trump Finally Puts Iran on His Radar
The tweet that President Donald Trump addressed to his Iranian counterpart recently was undoubtedly the strongest statement that he has issued to the government of the Islamic Republic since taking office.
Writing in all capital letters, Trump condemned the so-called moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani for “threatening the United States” by saying earlier that day that the US would find war with Iran to be “the mother of all wars.”
In internet terms, all CAPS indicates that President Trump YELLED his response. He warned that more such threats would result in “consequences the like of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.” Moreover, he added that the U.S. is “no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence and death.”
The harsh language is very much in keeping with the Iran strategy that Trump has advanced since the start of his presidency – a strategy of assertiveness and pressure; an alpha male strategy, very much at odds with the policies that had been pursued by his predecessor, the anemic Barack Obama. Further, President Trump’s strategy differs from earlier American presidents and that of most European leaders.
Those earlier American policies and current European policies have rightly been described as conciliatory at best, and appeasement at worst. These ineffective policies have been predicated on the notion that there is no viable alternative to Iran’s theocratic regime, and that any serious confrontation of that regime would put Western powers on a path to war.
At a glance, the rhetorical exchanges coming out of the White House seem to support that latter claim. But a broader look at the current U.S. policy tells a much different story.
That policy, which includes severe sanctions targeting entities like the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, has weakened the infrastructure of Iran’s domestic repression while boosting the morale of the domestic activist community. This has been evident for the past several months, as protests sporadically broke out all across the country. This trend began at the end of last year when citizens of Mashhad poured into the streets of that city to protest the regime’s economic mismanagement. These protests come due to a economic catastrophic crisis despite the Islamic Republic being granted relief under the 2015 nuclear deal.
This set the stage for subsequent protests that also focused on the economy, many believe prompted by President Trump’s move to pull out of the horrible nuclear agreement. It is clear that the Iranian people do not blame the U.S. for their economic hardships. Instead, they recognize that their pain is primarily the result of the clerical regime’s misplaced priorities, more specifically its emphasis on ideological warfare at the expense of the interests of the Iranian people. Protesters chant, “forget about Syria; think of us.”
As I reported earlier, there were over 140 protests in a short period, protests born of popular opposition to the regime’s support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, though that is only one of many grievances that emerged out of the Mashhad protest.
In March, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran that includes the main Iranian resistance movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (or MEK) praised the demonstrations and called for the Iranian people to create “a year full of uprisings.” It quickly became clear that the public was heeding that call.
Also in my earlier report, I noted the economic upheaval in Iran caused by President Trump:
The Economy of Iran
A restaurant recently advertised to hire dishwashers. With unemployment over 35 percent with under 30-year olds in Iran, it’s no surprise that over 150 people applied. But what’s most surprising who applied.
Shockingly, 30 of the applicants held PhDs. However, even more telling about the Iranian economy has to do with its currency.
About four months ago, the Iranian rial traded at about 35,000 to $1 U.S. Not long after, the currency valued around 60,000 to $1 U.S.
But the value of the rial has plummeted almost daily going from 70,000 to 80,000, and quickly 100,000 to $1 U.S.
To recap, over 4 months, the Iranian rial has lost over 65 percent of its value, with most of the devaluation coming over the past couple of weeks. So why the acceleration?
That currency drop is no accident, and a direct result of President Trump’s hard stance on sanctions, and the fact that he expects the EU and other countries to follow suit.
But there are other factors as well.
The clerical regime fears the pro-democracy movement led by Mrs. Rajavi, as they plotted to bomb the “Free Iran-The Alternative” event of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in Paris on June 30, attended by some 100,000 people and hundreds of dignitaries including Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich.
In his remarks on Sunday, “Supporting Iranian Voices”, Secretary Pompeo enumerated the miseries that the clerical regime had brought upon the people of Iran and referred to the foiled plot in his remarks.
“Just earlier this month, an Iranian “diplomat” based in Vienna was arrested and charged with supplying explosives for a terrorist bomb scheduled to bomb a political rally in France. This tells you everything you need to know about the regime: At the same time they’re trying to convince Europe to stay in the nuclear deal, they’re covertly plotting terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe,” he said.
For the first time in more than a decade the American government has made clear its policy to side with the Iranian people and not the oppressive government. And if President Trump sticks to his guns holding the EU responsible for their actions as they pertain to Iran, expatriates will find comfort soon.
President Trump meant every word he said in his tweet. Nobody threatens the United States. However, the real substance of those gestures forces Tehran to confront a new reality, one from which they have no international; that of domestic unrest.
And that unrest can, with the support of the international community, put Iran on a path toward regime change at the hands of the Iranian people. That outcome puts Iran policy back into the hands of the Iranian people, where it belongs.