Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz
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{Written by Majid Rafizadeh and originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Remember, just eight years ago, that the people of Iran rose up in their millions against their Islamist dictatorship. The US administration at the time stayed abhorrently silent. People on the streets chanted, “Obama, Obama, are you with them [mullahs] or with us?”

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Washington did not offer support. The administration’s dismissal not only enabled the mullahs brutally to crush the demonstrations with impunity; the mullahs were even rewarded with a deal that would enable them to have a legitimate nuclear weapons capability down the road, as well as billions of dollars.

Obama and the Iranian regime sold the world the idea that the nuclear agreement, appeasement policies towards the mullahs, and the lifting of UN sanctions would supposedly help the Iranian people and make the Iranian government a constructive player. All facts show, then as now, that the opposite took place.

People are suffering financially in oil-rich Iran (as they are in oil-rich Venezuela). Unemployment among the youth has reached a record-high of roughly 31%, while approximately 60% of the Iranian population is under 30 years of age. Many of the youth are highly educated and tech-savvy but they cannot find jobs. Those who are older cannot afford medicine, food or shelter. Inflation has been skyrocketing.

Suppression of freedoms, and human rights violations have escalated, according to Amnesty International and other human rights groups. The extra billions of dollars in revenue, thanks to the wretched nuclear agreement that should have been cancelled months ago, are going not into the pockets of the people, but into the pockets of the Revolutionary Guards, Syria’s President Assad, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and other terrorist groups.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s proposed budget for 2018-2019 includes a significant increase for the military and ballistic-missile program while cutting subsidies for the poor.

US President Donald J. Trump, on the other hand, has been supporting and praising the bravery of the Iranian people, and publicly condemning any human rights violations committed by the Iranian regime against the people.

The Iranian regime, its agents and the mainstream leftist media is attempting to make readers and viewers believe that the US should be silent during this uprising.

How could a country based on freedom and civil rights be silent while other humans are being butchered because they desire that same freedom and those same rights? Is silence not a betrayal of justice, freedom and democracy? Is silence not a betrayal of the victims of Islamism, terrorism and violence, in the face of the acts being committed by the Iranian regime against innocent people in Iran and around the world? The Iranian regime is the top state sponsor of terrorism. It is ranked top in the world when it comes to executing people per capita. The regime, according to Amnesty International, is a leading executioner of children. As the regime continues to intensify its crackdown in the last few days, dozens of peaceful protesters have been shot dead.

As a long-time Iranian, I can tell you that the support of the US and President Trump is invaluable to the ordinary Iranians: they feel helpless and alone in the face of the monsters who have been oppressing them for so long.

On Persian social media outlets and apps such as Telegram, which is extremely popular among Iranians, people are cheering the US support. People are asking the US to support them in other ways as well, in addition to helping them bypass the internet-blocks and shut-downs that the Iranian regime recently implemented.

It is hypocritical and heartbreaking to see that the international community and the United Nations simply watch while peaceful protesters are being beaten and killed: no words of condemnation have been spoken. The dictators and despots who form the UN’s majority are doubtless worried that that might be next.

Silence equals tolerance. Is this the message being sent to the protesters who are risking their lives to bring freedom not only to their nation but eventually to the entire world?

If the Iranians succeed in changing this Islamist regime, it will bring down the highest state sponsor of terrorism, the leading regime in human rights violations, the top state sponsor of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitic propaganda. Iran, with its current regime, is a danger not just to its long-suffering people, but to everyone. These protesters, who are flooding the streets and demanding that their voices be heard, are committing acts of heroism that will be felt throughout the world and throughout history.

(Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He is the author of “Peaceful Reformation in Iran’s Islam”. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu)

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