Archive for the ‘Iran – regime change’ category

Domestic unrest: Iran’s worst nightmare

November 23, 2017

Domestic unrest: Iran’s worst nightmare, American Thinker, Keyvan Salami, November 23, 2017

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13th Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing them as the first victims of the regime’s atrocities.

“…we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.”

As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani’s hollow promises. A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime’s point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people’s demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

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The threats posed by Iran in the Middle East through its support for terrorism, extremism and Islamic fundamentalism are undeniable. Its continued backing of various militias has established for Tehran a so-called Shiite crescent across the region. Growing domestic unrest, especially after the recent quake that shook western Iran, is plaguing the regime and showing the international community Iran’s main chink in the armor.

This was also witnessed on October 29th as the regime launched a massive crackdown effort to prevent any gathering marking International Cyrus Day, in memory of an ancient Persian ruler known to be the author of the world’s first human rights charter.

Reports indicate that Iran deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij, and Intelligence Ministry members alongside hordes of plainclothes agents to prevent any possible gathering mirroring the 2016 scenario on this same day.

Iran also resorted to a media campaign inside the country and abroad, claiming to have quelled a plot by “foreign-based dissidents and currents opposing the establishment,” as explained in a leaflet distributed by state police warning against any rallies.

Further domestic unrest is witnessed in the growing number of protests by ordinary investors seeing their life savings in state-run institutes plundered. Protests are mushrooming in cities across the country, responded to by the regime with arrests and harsh measures against crowds whose numbers are growing with each rally.

The Iranian regime has usurped billions from ordinary people’s investments to fuel its wars across the region. After 38 years, this has left the Iranian populace suffering tremendously with no light at the end of the tunnel.

“The middle-class in Iran has been all but extinguished,” a report indicates, adding that a large majority of Iran’s 80-million populace currently lives in poverty. City walls across the country are being filled with offers of people willing to sell various body parts, such as kidneys for $2,000, to literally make ends meet.

Iran is also widely known for its practice of repressing ethnic and religious minorities, involving harsh persecution, cruel discrimination, and ongoing cultural and economic marginalization. Tehran’s regime also resorts to a higher level of human rights violations in issuing long prison terms, imposing torture, public hangings, and even mass executions.

Iran’s “moderate” Hassan Rouhani is known to have carried out over 3,100 executions during his tenure as the regime’s president.

Iran is forced to such measures, knowing clearly it lacks any social base. One such case was witnessed when Rouhani’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted about all Iranians being IRGC following the force’s blacklisting by Washington.

The response by Iranians mostly inside the country was a display of sheer defiance against the regime, and how people view the IRGC as an entity terrorizing not only nations throughout the Middle East, but also Iranians at home.

Developments across the globe in the past year or so have made Iranians realize times are changing. For eight years Iran’s regime fed off the engagement policy adopted by the Obama administration. This gave a green light to Tehran for domestic crackdowns and foreign meddling. While Obama turned his back on the Iranian people, especially during the 2009 uprisings, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has time and again voiced their support and solidarity with Iranian people.

On three different occasions, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has voiced the Iranian people’s desire for freedom.

“There are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government,” he said during his late October trip to India.

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13th Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing them as the first victims of the regime’s atrocities.

“…we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to — and they just are longing, to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.”

As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani’s hollow promises. A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime’s point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people’s demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

Looted and lied to, Iran’s people are protesting

October 28, 2017

Looted and lied to, Iran’s people are protesting, American ThinkerHassan Mahmoudi, October 28, 2017

Ever since the Obama administration signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, commonly known as the Iran Deal, an influx of cash has rolled into the Iranian economy, and Tehran itself has grown emboldened in its oppression and terrorism. Sadly, its bad behavior has been ignored in the West, particularly in its press, even as its citizens have noticed. They have carried on a series of protests this week.

As President Trump outlined in his strategy, Iran’s offenses in this regard are not limited to its nuclear program. Ever since sanctions on Iran were lifted in 2016, Iran has invested in destabilizing many of its neighbors.

At home, Iran has adopted the policy of suppression and execution as its main domestic policy.

The Iranian people are frustrated with high unemployment, outlandish living costs, and the lack of public services. According to the report by the National Council of Iran Resistance, on Monday morning, Oct. 23, more than two thousand people, whose property was plundered by institutions affiliated with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the mullahs’ judiciary and other state agencies, rallied in front of the regime’s parliament.

Iran’s repressive police force, using batons, assaulted the demonstrators and beat them brutally. Then they tried to disperse the demonstration in which women played a very active role. But they were faced with the resistance of the people.

Protestors chanted: “Shame! Shame on the police force! ” and “Cannon, machine gun, tank no longer works,” and “Death to the dictator.” When the police arrested some people, especially women, and wanted to take them by force, people chanted “You are ISIS, you are ISIS, death to ISIS, let them go,” and “Police, shame on you, let our fellow citizens go.”

Some of the slogans were: “Death to Saif (head of the Central Bank),” “Shame on Rouhani,” “Larijani is apparently the judge but a thief’s accomplice,” “Theft is institutionalized, the hearts are full of hatred,” “For traveling to other countries, they have taken our money, ” “They had a budget deficit, but they have taken it from our money,” “Caspian Institute [a corrupt bank] has stolen, the government has supported it,” “Saif betrays, Parliament confirms,” ” I will not give up unless I get my rights,” and “Enough injustice!”

When a number of participants in the demonstration, including women, were attacked by police forces, other people on the scene joined and defended them. People chanted “I kill, I kill whoever killed my brother” while throwing rocks, wood and other objects at the police.

Subsequently, the police encircled the protesters so that they could not leave the surrounded area, but the people broke out of the siege and started marching towards the Baharestan square. The repressive forces tried to control the population by bringing a motorized unit, but the people continue their rally while throwing rocks towards them. A large number of people joined the protesters.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, hailed her courageous compatriots who staged demonstrations in Tehran. She welcomed the protests by Iranians whose savings have been plundered by institutions affiliated with the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) with the complicity of government agencies under Rouhani and previous presidents.

She said, “The courageous chants in today’s demonstrations targeting the heads of the Judiciary and Executive Branch, as well as the suppressive State Security Force and intelligence forces, reflect the Iranian people’s desire for the overthrow of the mullahs’ religious dictatorship.”

Noting the chant “theft has become institutionalized under this regime,” Mrs. Rajavi added, “Institutionalized fraud along with institutionalized murder and belligerence constitute the pillars of the mullahs’ decadent regime. Ali Khamenei and his office hold the strings controlling all the depraved crimes taking place in the country. As long as this regime is in power, there will be no end to the astronomical embezzlement, poverty, unemployment and catastrophic economic conditions.”

Khamenei has attained enormous wealth by plundering the people of Iran, devastated by poverty to the extent that they sell their children or organs, and by suppressing Iran’s youth who demand freedom. He has amassed this wealth in giant financial conglomerates such as the Staff Implementing Khomeini’s Order, the Qods Razavi Foundation, the IRGC and Bassij cooperatives, and the Mostaz’afan Foundation. He has delegated the administration of these institutes to officials who were in charge of the massacre of political prisoners in 1988, as well as other ruthless officials.

Mrs. Rajavi called on all Iranians, especially the youth, to support their plundered and deprived countrymen and women protesting in demand of their rights, and to help them expand their protests.

 

Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate, specializing in political and economic issues relating to Iran and the Middle East. @hassan_mahmou1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newt Gingrich: State Dept. Has Listened to Iran More Than to ‘The Resistance’

October 24, 2017

Newt Gingrich: State Dept. Has Listened to Iran More Than to ‘The Resistance’, BreitbartPenny Starr, October 23, 2017

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Dentons

Gingrich detailed the Iran’s aspirations in a chilling laundry list:

You have a repressive dictatorship which projects power now all the way to the Mediterranean, has plans to build a port in Lebanon that it would control, has plans to build missile factories in both Syria and Lebanon, ultimately designed to destroy Israel, already has helped Hezbollah get something on the order of 75,000 to 100,000 missiles, creating I think a much bigger problem on the northern front for Israel than anybody has come to grips with yet.

“And it’s all going to get worse,” he added.

Gingrich also praised President Donald Trump on his decision to decertify the JCPOA nuclear deal, calling it “just about exactly the right path” and said that the president’s public remarks about Iran have been bold.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) spoke to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on Friday about the danger posed by Iran and accused the U.S. State Department of listening to that dictatorship more than to those who seek a free and democratic Iran.

Gingrich said he has lobbied for the Iranian resistance movement in the U.S. and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) since he was the top Republican in the House.

Gingrich said:

Because basically the Iranian dictatorship ran a false flag operation to set up a totally phony designation, which the State Department and bureaucracy went along with, so for a long period of time we were willing to listen to the actual dictatorship while not listening to the resistance, even though the resistance was trying to tell us the truth about the dictatorship, which was lying to us.

Gingrich acknowledged that Iranians have suffered in exile in Iraq at Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf where thousands of members and sympathizers of MEK have been living for the past 25 years:

In my experience, the elements of the National Council of Resistance of Iran who are still inside Iran — and there are thousands of people who are obviously highly quiet about this otherwise they would be picked up by the secret police and killed — but they have been the best source of information on the nuclear program consistently, and have found things when the CIA has been telling us they didn’t exist.

Gingrich said, “And I hope that this administration will now be part of this process of beginning to unravel both the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps  (IRGC) and then, ultimately, the dictatorship.”

That unraveling should include the U.S. designating the IRGC a terrorist organization, which would have a direct impact on the Iranian economy, according to Gingrich.

Gingrich said in his remarks that the extent of the danger posed by Iran cannot be understated.

“As long as that dictatorship is in power, as long as it’s able to spend money, as long as it is able to project terrorism around the world, it is ultimately a mortal danger to the United States,” Gingrich said. “And of course, it was a terrible thing for the Iranian people.”

“A dictatorship which, in 1988, killed 30,000 people, something which for some reason The New York Times and The Washington Post don’t find to be horrifying,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich detailed the Iran’s aspirations in a chilling laundry list:

You have a repressive dictatorship which projects power now all the way to the Mediterranean, has plans to build a port in Lebanon that it would control, has plans to build missile factories in both Syria and Lebanon, ultimately designed to destroy Israel, already has helped Hezbollah get something on the order of 75,000 to 100,000 missiles, creating I think a much bigger problem on the northern front for Israel than anybody has come to grips with yet.

“And it’s all going to get worse,” he added.

Gingrich also praised President Donald Trump on his decision to decertify the JCPOAnuclear deal, calling it “just about exactly the right path” and said that the president’s public remarks about Iran have been bold.

That includes Trump’s speech to the United Nations, which Gingrich said was “probably the strongest condemnation of Iran, of the Iranian dictatorship, ever uttered in the United Nations.”

Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of NCRI, has welcomed the new U.S. policy to “condemn the IRGC’s gross violations of human rights” in Iran and “to deny the Iranian regime and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funding for its malign activities, and oppose IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people.”

She said acknowledgment that supreme leader Ali Khamenei “oppresses its people, abuses their rights,” and “exports violence, destabilizes its neighbors, and sponsors terrorism abroad,” is a recognition of the illegitimacy of the Iranian regime.

The event was sponsored by the Organization of Iranian American Communities in the U.S.

Is the Argument for Regime Change in Iran Well Founded?

September 30, 2017

Is the Argument for Regime Change in Iran Well Founded? American ThinkerShahriar Kia, September 30, 2017

(Nearly all of the comments associated with the American Thinker article contend that Iran under its current regime is a wonderful, happy place, all opposition to which is a vile Jewish-Israeli conspiracy. — DM)

During his first address to the UN General Assembly in September, President Donald Trump offered a perspective on the people and the regime of Iran that starkly differed from that of his predecessors. He accurately attested that “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want to change.” He described the Iran nuclear deal as “an embarrassment,” called off the Iranian regime for its export of “violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” and underlined that “Iran’s people are what their leaders fear most.”

These remarks from the president of the United States are a positive signal after three decades of failed appeasement toward the mullahs ruling Iran. And the testament to the fact are the reactions of Iranian officials, which betray their fear and consternation.

In a meeting with the Assembly of Experts, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime called Trump’s speech “foolish, extremely ugly and hideous” and “gangster and cowboy language fraught with sheer lies.”

“Mr. Trump said the wrong things in the wrong place to the wrong people,” Rouhani said to the state television.

The question that remains is whether President Trump’s remarks at the UNGA were simply a reaction to the failure of the appeasement policy, or was it the result of the natural course of events and the geopolitical dynamics governing the Middle East? Has the explosion in connectivity and social media services been effective in conveying the message of the Iranian people, who want the world to know about their desire for freedom and human rights?

Without a doubt, all of these parameters have been effective. But what are the real foundations of Washington’s new approach to the desires of the Iranian people for regime change?

Uprisings

The first factor that challenges the power of the ruling regime is the looming threat of uprisings. From an economic and social perspective, there has always been a potential for nationwide uprisings in Iran.

The first big occurrence of widespread protests was in 1981 when more than 500,000 people took to the streets of Tehran and demanded the overthrow of the theocratic regime. The protest was brutally suppressed and ruthless executions of protestors and dissidents ensued.

In the summer of 1988 alone, 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the opposition group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), were executed in the span of a few months and were buried in secret graves.

In 1999 and 2009, uprisings erupted again. While the regime smothered both instances with a brutal crackdown, yet the potential for another uprising remains, and the ashes wait to be stirred once again.

Presently, sporadic protests are slowly building up across the country and gaining momentum. An example is the staged protests against the Arman and Caspian foundations, two financial organizations run by the Revolutionary Guards, which have been plundering the people’s wealth at an unprecedented scale. Following the start of Rouhani’s second term as president, social dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs has increased.

Infighting

The second factor that is weakening the regime is the ongoing power struggle between the Supreme Leader and other factions within the regime. So long as the country’s constitution is based on the “guardianship of the jurist,” every key decision will be made by the Supreme Leader. The Supreme Leader is also the commander in chief, which leaves the president with no substantial power.

This religious dictatorship is founded on fundamentalist interpretations of Islam and sees its survival as bound to domestic suppression and foreign terrorism. However, the mullahs’ crimes in the past four decades have intensified the hatred of the Iranian people toward them.

Earlier this year, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation revisited the mass execution of 30,000 Iranian political prisoners in 1988 in her report to the Secretary-General. Moreover, activists and international human rights organizations have called for an independent investigation into this crime against humanity, placing the Iranian regime in another political and social dead end.

A War of Attrition in the Middle East

The Iranian regime is stuck in three long regional wars, involving Yemen, Syria, and Iraq. Some analysts and politicians perceive the Iranian regime’s meddling in these three countries as a sign of power and stability. However, contrary to what Khamenei and other regime officials have insisted on time and again, if they abandon their intervention in the countries of the Middle East, they’ll be fighting their wars in the streets of Tehran. Therefore, the sole purpose of the Iranian regime’s regional forays is to avoid its collapse. The regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile project is for the same purpose.

The Coalition of Arab Countries and U.S. Against Iran’s Regional Ambitions

The coalition of Arab countries and the U.S., the imposition of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s regional meddling, and the end of the golden era of the Obama administration have faced the regime of Tehran with further challenges. Officials in the new U.S. administration rightly insist that the real threat of Iran comes not only from its nuclear ambitions but also from its ballistic missile program, its chaos mongering in the region and its human rights abuses. The only durable solution to those collective threats is regime change in Iran.

The Existence of a Reliable Alternative to Replace the Regime in Iran

What makes the replacement of a tyrannical regime viable is the presence of a recognized alternative that has a distinct political, social and economic platform for the future, which enjoys the support of the international community. The existence of such a resistance and its international recognition is one of the main parameters that will pave the way for uprisings against the ruling dictatorship.

Iran currently has a democratic alternative, led by Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who opposes fundamentalism and bases her faith on tolerance.Mrs. Rajavi’s ten-point plan has been praised and acknowledged by many political personalities, jurists, parliamentarians, and human rights activists across the world.

Three decades of appeasement toward Tehran has not moderated the behavior of the Iranian regime — it has made it worse. However, the foundations for change in Iran exist. What makes regime change in Iran unique is the fact that it requires no foreign intervention. The people of Iran and their organized resistance have the potential to bring about change from Inside Iran.

Ryan Mauro: Iran / North Korea Meetings After H-Bomb Test & EMP Threat

September 6, 2017

Ryan Mauro: Iran / North Korea Meetings After H-Bomb Test & EMP Threat, Clarion Project via YouTube, September 5, 2017

(Regime change in both Iran and North Korea could be good. But it would take more time than we can afford. — DM)

 

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter

July 27, 2017

Time for US to Support Regime Change in Iran – Raymond Tanter, Iran News Update, July 27, 2017

(Please see also, US seeks to test Iran deal with its new inspections and The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince. Is a “peaceful transition”  possible? Even if it is not, we should support it. — DM)

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

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The following is an op-ed by former US National Security Council staff member Professor Raymond Tanter on Iran policy options for the United States. The article was published on The Hill website on Wednesday, July 26:

The time may be right for President Trump to consider and pursue regime change in Iran. Consider three quotes that provide a way of looking back to look forward:

President Obama in 2013 address to the United Nations:

“We are not seeking regime change, and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.”

When asked whether the Trump administration supports “a philosophy of regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would work with Iranian opposition groups toward the “peaceful transition of that government.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) echoed Tillerson’s view, saying “it’s time the Iranian people had a free and open society and a functioning democracy,” effectively a call for regime change.

The Obama quote reassuring the Iranian regime that its survival was not on the table stands in marked contrast to those of Tillerson and McCain, for whom the idea of regime change from the people of Iran is on the table, or at least under the table in and around the Trump White House.

On July 1, an event was held in Paris; there, I had conversations with Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who explicitly called for regime change from within Iran by supporting Iranian oppositionists, in particular, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Ditto for other Trump allies, including John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration. On July 1, Bolton, said:

“There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be … to change the regime itself. And that’s why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!”

The Way Forward

“Trump time” suggests a period of analysis of options as the President’s National Security Council reviews Iran policy. The review could present three options to Trump.

First, follow the Obama precedent of reassuring Tehran the United States will not challenge the rule of the unelected Ayatollahs. Trump and the Congress, however, are so strongly opposed to the Iranian regime, they are unlikely to countenance the Obama policy toward Iran, which Trump considers “appeasement.” Obama lost his bet that Iran would moderate its ballistic missile testing, state-supported international terrorism, and human rights violations. His nuclear deal was inconsistent with regime change from within, e.g., via a coalition of dissident groups.

Second, order preparations for the kind of coup d’état the CIA and British MI-6 intelligence service carried out in 1953, which overthrew a democratically-elected government in Iran. “All the Shah’s Men” describes how the coup occurred and the unintended negative consequences for Iranian perceptions of America for changing Iran’s government by covert action.

Indicative of this option is an editorial in The New York Times of July 18, which sounds the alarm that, “A drumbeat of provocative words, outright threats and actions — from President Trump and some of his top aides as well as Sunni Arab leaders and American activists — is raising tensions that could lead to armed conflict with Iran.”

But regime change from within is more than just an American issue. It is a “people of Iran” issue and what they want; it is not about the U.S. military going to war with Iran, as the editorial suggests.

Third, support the pro-democracy coalition of dissidents, the NCRI, which is best able to mobilize other oppositionists into an even wider coalition. Also, there’s a new sheriff in town, President Trump, and he expressed a strong presence in his Riyadh address: Trump the deal-maker but one with core principles like “Drive them out.”

“Drive them out of your places of worship,” Trump said of extremists, “drive them out of your holy land. Drive them out of this earth.”

After the July 1 rally in Paris, Fox News reported the next day the president might defy the Iranian regime by signaling his willingness to look kindly on the resistance: “The Trump administration is potentially considering seeking a strategy to try to topple the regime.” The resistance, however, only needs American political and perhaps economic support to effect “regime change from within.”

Even if he does not go so far as to topple the regime, Trump could increase his leverage against the Ayatollahs by supporting the resistance, conditioned on its continued eschewing of terrorist tactics. Doing so is bound to weaken an already faltering regime. In this respect, the tide is turning against Tehran in favor of the opposition.

The Bottom Line

The Iranian resistance benefits from aligning with the United States because the resistance is firmly in the camp of civilized states and does not commit acts of barbarism. Hence, President Trump is more likely to reach out to the Iranian opposition during his review of Iran policy than did President Obama, who valued the nuclear deal with Tehran too much to jeopardize it by opening up to the resistance.

Dr. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan.

The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince

July 27, 2017

The Iran dilemma of the Saudi crown prince, Washington Times, S. Rob Sobhani, July 26, 2017

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Associated Press photo

The first step that Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince can take is to deliver an address to the Iranian people in which he lays out his vision for a peaceful and friendly relation with people of Iran. In this address, Mohammed bin Salman can touch upon the rich history of Iran, its unique culture and heritage, and end by extending his hand of friendship to his natural allies — the people of Iran.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The starting point for any policy that the new crown prince of Saudi ArabiaMohammed bin Salman, adopts toward the Islamic Republic of Iran is to understand two basic facts. First, the Iranian regime continues to be the most serious threat to regional security in the Middle East and the major state sponsor of terrorism. Second, the Iranian people continue to be the most serious threat to the Islamic regime and the only real hope for a fundamental change in Iran.

If Mohammed bin Salman adopts the right policies in his dealings with the Islamic regime, not only will he go down in history as the leader who solved the “Iran Problem,” he will also usher in a new economic dynamic within the broader Middle East. In view of his friendship with President Trump, any new and bold approach by Mohammed bin Salman toward the Islamic regime in Tehran will no doubt have the full support of the president and his entire national security team.

To date Saudi policy toward Iran has not produced the results that Riyadh had hoped would either appease the mullahs or contain the bad behavior of the regime in Tehran. For example, the latest policy decision by Saudi Arabia to confront the Iranian regime by war through proxy in Yemen has not deterred the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The conflict in Yemen is fast becoming a quagmire for Riyadh. According to some estimates, the Saudi effort to confront Iran in Yemen is costing the kingdom around $600 million per month. After spending billions of dollars, Saudi Arabia is not close to thwarting the designs of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to build a beachhead on the Arabian Peninsula by supporting his Houthi allies.

Indeed, the Saudi narrative against the Iranian regime, eloquently enunciated by Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubair, captures the essence of Tehran’s dangerous behavior in places like Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Lebanon, but it does not address the fundamental underlying challenge: how to deal with a regime that is the mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia.

The overarching policy that Mohammed bin Salman should seriously consider is to adopt a soft-power approach to solving his Iran dilemma. This policy starts by drawing a clear distinction between the people of Iran and their rulers. The first step that Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince can take is to deliver an address to the Iranian people in which he lays out his vision for a peaceful and friendly relation with people of Iran. In this address, Mohammed bin Salman can touch upon the rich history of Iran, its unique culture and heritage, and end by extending his hand of friendship to his natural allies — the people of Iran.

The concrete steps the young crown prince may wish to consider following his address to the Iranian people are as follows: First, he can announce the creation of a fund to pay for the pilgrimage of elderly Iranians to Mecca and Medina. For the average Iranian whose per-capita gross national product has shrunk since the overthrow of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, making the obligatory visit to Islam’s holiest sites has become a financial burden. Mohammed bin Salman can endear himself to millions of Iranians through this act of charity.