US should support forces seeking a new Iranian government

The Iran nuclear deal is dead, so now what?

An unsuccessful Iranian rocket attack launched from Syria against Israeli forces in the Golan Heights early Thursday shows that Iran is still determined to wipe Israel off the map and cause trouble throughout the Middle East.

Iran’s support of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and radical Islamist terrorist groups remains strong – with fighters, weapons and cash.

And Iran could decide to resume its race for an atomic bomb now that President Trump has withdrawn from the deal designed to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Let’s face it: as long as these radical clerics rule Iran with unchecked power, their nation will remain an international menace.

All this happening because the virulently anti-American extremist mullahs ruling Iran show no signs of changing their dangerous and destructive behavior. Let’s face it: as long as these radical clerics rule Iran with unchecked power, their nation will remain an international menace.      

The best way to stop Iran from acting like a warmongering outlaw state would be to support efforts by the Iranian people to establish a democracy in their country.

In a free and fair election, chances are overwhelming that Iranians would replace their extremist theocratic government with a government far more moderate, less friendly to terrorists, less interested in going nuclear, and more interested in getting along with the U.S. and Israel.

The rampant corruption of the mullahs and their thugs, paired with the untold billions of dollars they have spent on terrorism, nuclear development and missile development have driven Iran to economic ruin. Their extremist policies at home of sharply limiting human rights – particularly their subjugation of women – have created strong internal opposition to their rule.

The sooner Iranians can vote in leaders who reject the policies of the mullahs, the better off both the Iranian people and the people of the world will be.

America should pledge solidarity with the people of Iran. It is time to quit obsessing about the nuclear program and ignoring the larger issue of the dangerous and destructive Iranian regime.

President Trump spoke directly to the Iranian citizens about the damage the mullahs have done to their once-great country when he announced Tuesday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the deeply flawed Iran nuclear deal.

“Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you,” President Trump said. “It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world.

“But the future of Iran belongs to its people.  They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land. And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.”

We have a model for how to express solidarity with the Iranian people. One of the greatest non-violent victories for freedom in modern times was the demise of the Soviet Union. The people most responsible for that are President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity Movement in Poland.

Walesa led the fight against the brutal Soviet Communist regime and put the first hole in the Iron Curtain that separated and enslaved hundreds of millions of people. Solidarity began as a dock workers union and started its struggle as a call for economic reform.

Iran needs a similar movement based on improving the quality of life for its people and ending the oppression of the regime.

Iran’s Green Revolution in 2009 erupted over a stolen presidential election, but the grievances against the dictatorial anti-democratic regime were far broader than that.

Now the Iranian people have seen a massive infusion of billions of dollars in cash from the Iran deal go only to the bank accounts of their corrupt leaders and to terrorists. At the same time the Iranian economy is crashing and ordinary people can barely feed their families.

The free world should join together and support the right of the people of Iran to have actual self-determination and a chance to run their own country. The radical mullahs and their attack dogs will violently oppose these efforts, as always. So did the Soviets – but in the end, Solidarity prevailed.

The United States does not want to get embroiled in a military conflict with Iran. If we instead support freedom-loving Iranians in their struggle for a democracy we can avoid war, but give democratic forces the backing they need to throw off the yoke of the clerical dictatorship oppressing them.

A free and prosperous Iran no longer bent on death and destruction would be a godsend to the region and the world. So let’s join our voices in solidarity with those risking their lives daily protesting for a #FreeIran.

Jim Hanson is President of Security Studies Group and served in US Army Special Forces.