Sooner or later, Iran's regime will lose its grip

The Iranian people may not succeed this time to get rid of this regime but it will eventually happen, perhaps tomorrow or the day after.
Thursday 21/11/2019
Iranians take to the streets in support of the Islamic republic's government and supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the cenral city of Arak, southwest of the capital Tehran, on November 20. (AFP)
Iranians take to the streets in support of the Islamic republic's government and supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the cenral city of Arak, southwest of the capital Tehran, on November 20. (AFP)

It is only natural that the Iranian people rise up against a regime that has been, for 40 years, constantly escaping its failures by venturing outside the borders of Iran. It is more than normal that the popular uprising engulfs all of the country.

Ordinary citizens have had enough of the lies that the regime has been feeding them while half of the country's population -- about 40 million people -- lives below the globally recognised poverty line.

The Iranian people may not succeed this time to get rid of this regime but it will eventually happen, perhaps tomorrow or the day after.

It must be admitted that the regime has equipped itself with an impressive repressive machine. That machine was at work during the bloody quelling of the youth-driven 2009 Green Revolution.

However, it must also be acknowledged that Iran is entering a new and irreversible stage, since the existing regime is not viable, no matter how oppressive. This is because the regime is not able to be a normal natural system that cares about the affairs and well-being of its people. All it has to offer them are hollow slogans. With time, it has become clear to Iranian citizens that the slogans cannot feed them or give them hope for a better future for them and their children.

What is being witnessed in Iran is the culmination of the failure of a regime that has nothing to export besides weapons, misery, militias and sectarian strife while its citizens are finding it tougher to survive by the day as they watch huge amounts disbursed to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen.

What does investing in militias lead to? Can investing in misery have positive results at any level?

The Iranian regime, this Islamic Republic founded by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979, has fallen because it became more dependent on oil and gas revenues than its predecessor, the shah regime. The shah was the victim of his hesitation and of the cancer he suffered from during the last five years of his reign.

Khomeini, who proved to be an extremely wily fellow, controlled the revolution and diverted it in favour of establishing a regime to his own measure, the system of velayat-e faqih.

In everything Iran has done in the past 40 years, there has been a hidden link called its relationship with the United States. This relationship allowed the regime to remain in power after successive US administrations found it had an interest in its survival.

From the Jimmy Carter administration that deliberately avoided military confrontation, despite having US diplomats held hostage in Tehran for 444 days, to the Barack Obama administration, which did everything it could to meet the demands of the Iranian regime and make room for it to breathe financially, each administration had its own story with the Islamic Republic.

In October 1983, Ronald Reagan closed his eyes on the bombing of the US Marine Corps headquarters near Beirut airport, an operation that Iran was suspected of sponsoring. He dismissed the death of 241 American troops in that operation and withdrew US forces from Lebanon to please Iran.

The George H.W. Bush administration spent most of its effort on addressing the consequences of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. At that stage, and thanks to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s multiple mistakes, Iran found an indirect ally in the United States America.

Bill Clinton was not interested in any confrontation with Iran, creating a state of coexistence that the Islamic Republic took full advantage of until the arrival of the greatest and most invaluable of opportunities, the one offered by the George W. Bush administration in 2003. The United States delivered Iraq on a silver plate to Iran. This marked the second launch of the Iranian expansion project. The Iranian regime was all over the place, in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Iraq.

In reality, the regime was exporting its own crises because it has nothing to export but crises and now this system is in crisis. Iraq was its major playing card but now it is playing against it. The Iranian people have seen how the Iraqis rose up against their corrupt regime so they chose to revolt against the Khomeini regime and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Much credit for what is going on in Iran must go to Iraq and to the Trump administration, which realised that the problem with Iran was not in the nuclear file. The Trump administration tore up the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran signed under the Obama administration.

Most important, the current US administration joined Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in considering that the problem with Iran is in its behaviour beyond its borders. Iran is obsessed with being recognised as a major player in the Middle East but it refuses to admit that such a role requires a strong and diversified economy able to stand on its own.

The Trump administration hit Iran at its weak point, the economy. Iran is beginning to feel the effect of US sanctions. Iranians are being influenced by the courage of Iraqis who are not only resisting a corrupt regime but also Iranian colonialism.

Eventually, Iran will be liberated from a backward regime living from exporting its crises beyond its borders. It is not only Iran that will be liberated; Lebanon, Syria and Iraq will be liberated, too, and so will Yemen, even though the latter is suffering not just from the Houthis and their backwardness in Sana'a but also from the absence of a “legitimacy” camp that has a project for all of Yemen.

The Iranian issue must be treated with caution but the fact that all of Iran is revolting against the injustices and obscurantism of the existing regime is cause for optimism. Everything seems to indicate that an abnormal situation like that of the Iranian regime cannot continue.

These are the times when the US administration seems unwilling to back down on its sanctions against Iran and these sanctions are beginning to produce consequences for Iran and for the region as a whole.