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October 8, 2015 / 25 Tishri, 5776
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What the Iranian People “Really Think”… and How to Help Them

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: With a smile like that, he couldn't possibly want to annihilate Israel, right?

Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: With a smile like that, he couldn't possibly want to annihilate Israel, right?

Throughout history, when Iranians perceive their rulers as weak and believe they have the backing of strong powers either inside or outside their country, they have revolted. We do not have to bomb their nuclear facilities to help them. (Many Iranians inside the country apparently oppose an all-out attack on the nuclear facilities, not because of Iranian patriotism, but because they may die in the attack.) Many Iranians, would, however, deeply appreciate all other types of aid.

This could include anything which shows we do not support the regime, ranging from publicly reprimanding the regime for violating human rights, condemning the regime for the way it puts down riots, supplying to the leaders of the opposition communications equipment which cannot be monitored by the regime, or, the next time an Iranian naval vessel provokes the U.S. in the Gulf, responding forcefully – either by taking over the ship and holding the occupants for interrogation, or any response which would signal that we were actively standing up to the regime.

Instead, we keep missing — or sidestepping — opportunities to do so. On July 28th, for instance, the Syrian foreign minister flew to Tehran to meet his Iranian counterpart. After the meeting they held a joint news conference, venting anger at, and lies about, their enemies, who, they claimed, stand behind those wishing to overthrow the Syrian regime. We could have condemned both; so far we have chosen not to do so. To the Iranian people, our lack of a reaction reveals weakness and shows them they have no external support to move against their regime.

If we give them some sort of indication that we would back them, the Iranian people will understand the encouragement. After a few times, the Iranians would almost assuredly get the message and take matters into their own hands.

Helping them liberate themselves would be a win-win situation for the West, and would help put the Iranian people out of the misery imposed on them by their tyrannical regime.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

About the Author: Harold Rhode, Ph.D., served from 1982-2010 as an Adviser on Islamic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is now a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. He is fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi and Turkish.

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