Archive for the ‘Iran – regime change’ category

The Creeping War against Iran is Still on the Cards

July 8, 2018

08.07.2018 Author: Salman Rafi Sheikh

Source Link: The Creeping War against Iran is Still on the Cards

{Watching the Mullahs squirm at the hands of their own people will be the premier sight to behold. – LS}

On June 27 and June 28, in a series of tweets from his official account, the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo went out of the way to praise protests in Iran, calling it a backlash against the “corruption, injustice and incompetence of their leaders.” It was no surprise to see Israel’s Netanyahu also praising the Iranians, asking further as to “why is Iran so poor? Why is unemployment so rampant? The answer is in two words: the regime. Iran’s dictators plunder the country’s wealth… The Iranian people are the ones that suffer.”  Clearly, both the United States and Israel are, if not directly fuelling the protests, certainly involved in an active encouragement of the crisis, an indication of how desirable the goal of regime change in Iran remains. Their encouragement isn’t simply restricted to social media. In fact, the US withdrawal from the Iran deal despite the EU’s opposition and the IAEA’s confirmation of Iranian compliance is also a part of their policy of regime change. Withdrawal has rather expectedly been followed by resumption of sanctions, a step that has always been taken with one cardinal objective in mind: forcing the country into an economic crisis so that wide spread protests may take place, leading to an overthrow of the undesirable regime. Above mentioned tweets and video messages confirm this undoubtedly, also confirming how the Trump administration has ‘pivoted’ to an Israeli agenda, totally scrapping the Obama administration’s legacy of a hard negotiated settlement with Iran.

Clearly, a joint US-Israeli plan against Iran is working, indications of which had already started to come as early as December 2017 when, as a senior US official said, after two days of talks at the White House, US and Israeli officials had reached an understanding, signing a secret pact, to counter Iranian actions. Several working groups, in this behalf, had also been established with an explicit purpose of targeting Iran’s nuclear and missile programme, Iran’s actions in Syria and its support for Hezbollah.

While the reported signatory to this document is the ousted national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, the appointment of John Bolton, the confirmed paid speaker for an Iranian militant group, does also confirm, as we have previously pointed out, how regime change agenda is absolutely back on Iran.

John Bolton, as could be expected, is now already deeply involved in setting up task forces to unsettle Iran in a big way. The purpose of this force is—again unsurprisingly—to exploit protests in Iran to the advantage of both the US and Israel.

The task force, with its world-wide anti-Iran mission, has been established at a time when the remaining signatories of Iran-nuke deal are trying to persuade Iran to stay in the deal. According to Iran’s IRNA news agency, Iranian officials will be meeting EU officials in Vienna on Friday, July 6, to discuss the new “incentive package” the EU has prepared to preserve the deal.

Israel, however, has other plans. According to the reports, the purpose of the task-force is also to use Iran’s internal crisis to build international opposition against the regime. As such, Israel will be sending diplomatic missions to EU, the UNO and even the World Bank to build pressure on what the Israeli officials call the “ayatollahs” in Iran to globally isolate them, put them under sanctions, heat things up in Iran and thus force them out of power.

The plan is also a clear manifestation of what Saudia’s Muhammad Bin Salman, a partner of the US and Israel against Iran, had said a year ago about fighting the war between the Sunni and the Shia not anywhere else, certainly not in Saudi Arabia, but within Iran itself.

Planning for this is already underway. And, an important aspect of this is, apart from encouraging internal crisis by strangulating its economy, is also to stir up Baloch insurgency in Iran by building Arab support for the Baloch against Iran. A Saudi funded think-tank, Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies, said in one of its 2016 report that the Saudis could “persuade Pakistan to soften its opposition to any potential Saudi support for the Iranian Baluch”, arguing further that “Arab support for the Iranian Baluch is a matter of strategic necessity in confronting the Iranian hegemony in the region.”

By thus heating things up, it is clear that the US-Israel and Saudia are not avoiding a war with Iran; they’re actually preparing the ground for it as Iran has already warned to increase the enrichment level to 20 per cent if the agreement falls apart.

And, If push comes to shove, this would be a win for the hawks in both the US and Israel, who have long been advocating to scrap the deal and have completely ignored sane voices within the same administration. For instance, within the US even, a number of still serving officials from the military and defence establishment had warned against and opposed the US decision to withdraw from the deal.

Even the defence secretary James Mattis is on record to have said that he has read the agreement thrice and found it to be “pretty robust”; Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford says, “Iran is adhering to its JCPOA obligations” and that quiting the deal “would have an impact on others’ willingness to sign agreements”; the head of US Strategic Command, Gen. John Hyten says, not only is Iran in compliance with JCPOA”  but also “it’s our job to live up to the terms of that agreement”; and the head of US Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel says the nuclear deal is “in our interest” because it “addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran.”

With the latent reasons for withdrawing from the deal thus now in the limelight and certainly not unknown to any observer of geo-politics, one can certainly expect that a US-Israeli-Saudi effort to topple the Iranian regime from within is in its practical phase, which means that the nexus is shifting its geo-political chessboard from Syria to Iran. How long before we would start hearing people from within Iran, gaining foreign support, and chanting such slogans as “Ayatollahs must go”!

This Strike Could Bring Down The Mullahs In Iran, But The Mainstream Media Are Ignoring It

May 31, 2018

A courageous truck strike in Iran, now in its tenth day, is threatening to bring down the Iranian government.

By Hank Berrien May 31, 2018 via Daily Wire

Source Link:
This Strike Could Bring Down The Mullahs In Iran, But The Mainstream Media Are Ignoring It

{Wouldn’t that be something. – LS}

The truck strike started on May 22 in 25 provinces and 60 cities across Iran. And it’s not just the truck strike that is spreading unrest; other strikes have already been created:

In addition, it appears that taxi drivers have now joined the truckers in striking:

To no one’s surprise, the mainstream media, which trumpeted the Obama nuclear deal with Iran which propped up the despotic Iranian government, is not reporting news of the truck strike, but there was one major organization that was paying attention:

Leaked Doc Reveals White House Planning “Regime Change” In Iran

May 12, 2018

by Tyler Durden Thu, 05/10/2018 – 19:27 Zero Hedge

Source: Leaked Doc Reveals White House Planning “Regime Change” In Iran

{The question is…How would regime change impact the behavior of Iran’s military? – LS}

It appears Rudy Giuliani wasn’t lying.

Just a few days after the former NYC mayor and latest member of President Trump’sunexpectedly let it slip that “we got a president who is tough, who does not listen to the people who are naysayers, and a president who is committed to regime change [in Iran]”, the Washington Free Beacon has obtained a three-page white paper being circulated among National Security Council officials with drafted plans to spark regime change in Iran, following the US exit from the Obama-era nuclear deal and the re-imposition of tough sanctions aimed at toppling the Iranian regime. 

The plan, authored by the Security Studies Group, or SSG, a national security think-tank that has close ties to senior White House national security officials, including – who else – National Security Adviser John Bolton, seeks to reshape longstanding American foreign policy toward Iran by emphasizing an explicit policy of regime change, something the Obama administration opposed when popular protests gripped Iran in 2009, writes the Free Beacon, which obtained a leaked copy of the circulating plans.

The regime change plan seeks to fundamentally shift U.S. policy towards Iran and has found a receptive audience in the Trump administration, which has been moving in this direction since Bolton—a longtime and vocal supporter of regime change—entered the White House.

It deemphasizes U.S military intervention, instead focusing on a series of moves to embolden an Iranian population that has increasingly grown angry at the ruling regime for its heavy investments in military adventurism across the region. –Free Beacon

The ordinary people of Iran are suffering under economic stagnation, while the regime ships its wealth abroad to fight its expansionist wars and to pad the bank accounts of the Mullahs and the IRGC command,” SSG writes in the paper. “This has provoked noteworthy protests across the country in recent months” it further claims as an argument to push a “regime change” policy.

For now – at least – overthrowing the Iran government, with its extensive and close ties to the Kremlin, is not official US policy; SSG president Jim Hanson told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration does not want to engage in direct military intervention in Iran – and is instead focusing on other methods of ridding Iran of its “hardline ruling regime.” 

The Trump administration has no desire to roll tanks in an effort to directly topple the Iranian regime,” Hanson said. “But they would be much happier dealing with a post-Mullah government. That is the most likely path to a nuclear weapons-free and less dangerous Iran.”

That will likely change, however.

One source close to the White House who has previewed the plan told the Free Beacon that the nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, solidified the Iranian regime’s grip on power and intentionally prevented the United States from fomenting regime change

The JCPOA purposefully destroyed the carefully created global consensus against the Islamic Republic,” said the source, who would only speak to the Free Beacon on background about the sensitive issue. “Prior to that, everyone understood the dangers of playing footsie with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It’s now Trump, Bolton, and [Mike] Pompeo’s job to put this consensus back in place.”

The source tells the Beacon that Bolton is “acutely aware of the danger the Iranian regime poses to the region.”

John is someone who understands the danger of Iran viscerally, and knows that you’re never going to fundamentally change its behavior—and the threats against Israel and the Saudis especially—until that revolutionary regime is gone,” the source said, adding that “nothing’s off the table right now if Israel is attacked.

That said, Bolton is confident that an Iranian regime change will occur in the next six months.

A second source tells The Beacon that the Trump administration recognizes that the “chief impediment to the region is Iran’s tyrannical regime.”

The problem is not the Iran nuclear deal it’s the Iranian regime,” said the source. “Team Bolton has spent years creating Plans B, C, and D for dealing with that problem. President Trump hired him knowing all of that. The administration will now start aggressively moving to deal with the root cause of chaos and violence in the region in a clear-eyed way.”

Regional sources who have spoken to SSG “tell us that Iranian social media is more outraged about internal oppression, such as the recent restrictions on Telegram, than about supporting or opposing the nuclear program. Iranian regime oppression of its ethnic and religious minorities has created the conditions for an effective campaign designed to splinter the Iranian state into component parts,” the group states. –Free Beacon

“More than one third of Iran’s population is minority groups, many of whom already seek independence,” the paper explains. “U.S. support for these independence movements, both overt and covert, could force the regime to focus attention on them and limit its ability to conduct other malign activities.”

Without a regime change, the United States will continue face threats from Iranian forces stationed throughout the region, including in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.

“The probability the current Iranian theocracy will stop its nuclear program willingly or even under significant pressure is low,” the plan states. “Absent a change in government within Iran, America will face a choice between accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or acting to destroy as much of this capability as possible.”

That said, President Trump made clear earlier in the week that US officials must make efforts to differentiate between the people of Iran and its ruling regime.

Any public discussion of these options, and any messaging about the Iranian regime in general, should make a bright line distinction between the theocratic regime along with its organs of oppression and the general populace,” according to the plan. “We must constantly reinforce our support for removing the iron sandal from the necks of the people to allow them the freedom they deserve.”

White House Examining Plan to Help Iranian People Oppose Regime

May 11, 2018

White paper pushes bid to help Iranians topple already weak hardline regime

BY: Adam Kredo May 10, 2018 3:35 pm The Free Beacon

Source: White House Examining Plan to Help Iranian People Oppose Regime

{The question is, how long will it take for the people of Iran to reach ‘critical mass’? – LS}

The Trump administration is examining a new plan to help Iranians fighting the hardline regime in Iran following America’s exit from the landmark nuclear deal and reimposition of harsh economic sanctions that could topple a regime already beset by protests and a crashing economy, according to a copy of the plan obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The three-page white paper being circulated among National Security Council officials in the White House offers a strategy by which the Trump administration can actively work to assist an already aggravated Iranian public topple the hardline ruling regime through a democratization strategy that focuses on driving a deeper wedge between the Iranian people and the ruling regime.

The plan, authored by the Security Studies Group, or SSG, a national security think-tank that has close ties to senior White House national security officials, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, seeks to reshape longstanding American foreign policy toward Iran by emphasizing an explicit policy of regime change, something the Obama administration opposed when popular protests gripped Iran in 2009.

The regime change plan seeks to fundamentally shift U.S. policy towards Iran and has found a receptive audience in the Trump administration, which has been moving in this direction since Bolton—a longtime and vocal supporter of regime change—entered the White House.

It deemphasizes U.S military intervention, instead focusing on a series of moves to embolden an Iranian population that has increasingly grown angry at the ruling regime for its heavy investments in military adventurism across the region.

“The ordinary people of Iran are suffering under economic stagnation, while the regime ships its wealth abroad to fight its expansionist wars and to pad the bank accounts of the Mullahs and the IRGC command,” SSG writes in the paper. “This has provoked noteworthy protests across the country in recent months.”

Jim Hanson, SSG’s president, told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration has no appetite for U.S. military intervention in Iran, but is very focused on efforts to rid Iran of its hardline ruling regime.

“The Trump administration has no desire to roll tanks in an effort to directly topple the Iranian regime,” Hanson said. “But they would be much happier dealing with a post-Mullah government. That is the most likely path to a nuclear weapons-free and less dangerous Iran.”

An NSC official declined to comment directly on the report, but confirmed the administration is consistently working to “change the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

“Our stated policy is to change the Iranian regime’s behavior of continuous destabilizing regional acts and support of terrorism,” the official said, adding that the White House reviews multiple plans and proposals from organizations. “The National Security Council is in receipt of reams of policy papers and reports, some are read with interest, others are not. Receipt of a policy paper in no way means that we are going to adopt the position of that paper.”

One source close to the White House who has previewed the plan told the Free Beacon that the nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA, solidified the Iranian regime’s grip on power and intentionally prevented the United States from fomenting regime change

“The JCPOA purposefully destroyed the carefully created global consensus against the Islamic Republic,” said the source, who would only speak on background about the sensitive issue. “Prior to that, everyone understood the dangers of playing footsie with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It’s now Trump, Bolton, and [Mike] Pompeo’s job to put this consensus back in place.”

Bolton is said to be acutely aware of the danger the Iranian regime poses to the region, the source said.

“John is someone who understands the danger of Iran viscerally, and knows that you’re never going to fundamentally change its behavior—and the threats against Israel and the Saudis especially—until that revolutionary regime is gone,” the source said, adding that “nothing’s off the table right now if Israel is attacked.”

A second source close to the White House and familiar with the thinking on this issue told the Free Beacon the administration recognizes the chief impediment to the region is Iran’s tyrannical regime.

“The problem is not the Iran nuclear deal it’s the Iranian regime,” said the source, who would only speak on background. “Team Bolton has spent years creating Plans B, C, and D for dealing with that problem. President Trump hired him knowing all of that. The administration will now start aggressively moving to deal with the root cause of chaos and violence in the region in a clear-eyed way.”

Regional sources who have spoken to SSG “tell us that Iranian social media is more outraged about internal oppression, such as the recent restrictions on Telegram, than about supporting or opposing the nuclear program. Iranian regime oppression of its ethnic and religious minorities has created the conditions for an effective campaign designed to splinter the Iranian state into component parts,” the group states.

“More than one third of Iran’s population is minority groups, many of whom already seek independence,” the paper explains. “U.S. support for these independence movements, both overt and covert, could force the regime to focus attention on them and limit its ability to conduct other malign activities.”

American policy towards Iran has failed to explicitly support Iranian opponents of the regime who are thirsty for a change.

“U.S. policy toward Iran currently does not publicly articulate two components vital to success: That a new birth of liberty based in self-determination for the Iranian people should be official policy; and that military action should be anticipated if other measures fail,” the paper states.

In addition to preventing Iran from ever building a nuclear weapon, the Trump administration must articulate a credible military threat should Iran choose to launch full-scale attacks on Israel and U.S. forces.

“A credible hard power option exists,” according to the plan. “That option does not consist of large invasion forces or long, costly occupations.”

Without a regime change, the United States will continue face threats from Iranian forces stationed throughout the region, including in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.

“The probability the current Iranian theocracy will stop its nuclear program willingly or even under significant pressure is low,” the plan states. “Absent a change in government within Iran, America will face a choice between accepting a nuclear-armed Iran or acting to destroy as much of this capability as possible.”

U.S. officials must make efforts to publicly differentiate between Iran’s ruling regime and its people, a point that was also emphasized by Trump in his statement about exiting the deal earlier this week.

“Any public discussion of these options, and any messaging about the Iranian regime in general, should make a bright line distinction between the theocratic regime along with its organs of oppression and the general populace,” according to the plan. “We must constantly reinforce our support for removing the iron sandal from the necks of the people to allow them the freedom they deserve.”

Iranian president to Trump: Stay in nuke deal or face ‘severe consequences’

April 24, 2018


“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.” | Iranian Presidency Office via AP

By LOUIS NELSON 04/24/2018 07:14 AM EDT Politico

Source Link: Iranian president to Trump: Stay in nuke deal or face ‘severe consequences’

{Here we go again. More threats from Iran. You’d think they were speaking from a position of strength but their economy is failing, their people are suffering, and their currency is being devalued daily. Any more resistance by the Mullahs will result in tighter sanctions and an eventual collapse. With Trump, economic power backed up by the world’s largest military is a huge bargaining chip. I wouldn’t want to call his bluff if I were them. He just might not be bluffing as many others have found out. – LS}

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Tuesday of “severe consequences” for the U.S. should it withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a step President Donald Trump has indicated he will take if certain changes to the agreement are not made.

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments … the Iranian government will firmly react,” Rouhani said in a speech, according to a Reuters report.

The Iranian president’s warning coincides with the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington, where he is expected to urge Trump to keep the U.S. in the deal, which was negotiated under former President Barack Obama and agreed to by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany and Iran.

Complaints about the Iran deal were among Trump’s most frequent talking points on the 2016 campaign trail, including a pledge to pull the U.S. from it. The president has yet to follow through on that promise, opting instead to continue extending the deal while demanding that it be altered to address other behavior by the Iranian government, including its funding of groups deemed by the U.S. to be terrorist organizations, that currently falls outside the scope of the nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that his nation’s compliance with the deal was “either all or nothing,” indicating that Iran would not remain party to the deal if the U.S. withdraws, even if the other nations do not. Rouhani, delivering a speech in the city of Tabriz, said Iran is prepared for whatever move Trump makes.

“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” the Iranian president said. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.”

 

Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand

February 23, 2018


Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand
© Getty

By Raymond Tanter and Ivan Sascha Sheehan, opinion contributor — 02/23/18 08:30 AM
The Hill

Source Link: Iran’s cyber warfare against its people must not stand

{Fighting the Mullahs one byte at a time. – LS}

New cyber revelations from the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK), the Iranian opposition movement, about the scope of mass surveillance by the Iranian regime are significant. Why? They show the desperation of the Iranian regime in confronting the uprising that began nationwide last December and has continued to this day.

Anti-government protesters chanted slogans indicative of a revolution: “Death to the dictator,” “Death to (Supreme Leader) Khamenei”, “Death to (Hassan) Rouhani,” “Don’t be afraid, we are all together,” “Forget about Syria, think about us,” “Not Gaza, nor Lebanon, my life for Iran,” and “Reformer, Hardline, the Game Is Now Over.”

The fact that protests expanded to over 140 cities, by some estimates, constitutes an existential threat to the regime and an opportunity to use the people’s resentment as leverage against it. The Obama administration squandered valuable opportunities in the past — most notably during the 2009 anti-government protests in Iran.

Only when the Iranian regime employed cyber technology was it able to slow down the spread of the protests and wage large numbers of arrests.

Protesters’ Use of Cyber Technology

The latest popular uprising in Iran sent shock waves inside the regime and around the world. Many specialists now view the uprisings as a landmark event. Protesters made use of game-changing cyber technology through mobile devices and social messaging platforms. Technology played a significant role in organizing, exchanging information between different locales, and getting their message out to the rest of the world.

Indeed, protesters’ use of cyber proved to be the regime’s Achilles heel: It could not, despite a show of force, stop the expansion of demonstrations. The protests expanded even as the regime desperately cut off access to the Internet and blocked key mobile apps, such as Telegram, at considerable cost and international embarrassment. A new wave of domestic cyber warfare, led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), accelerated significantly after the eruption of the nationwide protests.

The MEK established that the regime has focused on mass surveillance through malicious codes embedded in IRGC mobile apps. The goal was to monitor and disrupt the communication between protesters and dissidents.

The opposition movement argues that Iran’s domestic cyber warfare shifts focus from access control to “stateful endpoint” surveillance: In other words, with the recent uprising, the Iranian regime is now complementing its network shadowing with “stateful endpoint,” (mobile device) monitoring of content, context, and contacts to counter the expansion of the uprising and avert more protests. Café Bazaar, modeled after Google Play, is supervised by the IRGC and is its platform of choice to promote and distribute spyware enabled mobile apps.

Iran’s universities, according to the opposition group, are “a recruiting ground for IRGC cyber warfare personnel,” with recruits hired through front companies that “often engage in ‘research’ activities with a few of the IRGC’s ‘handpicked professors.’”

Tehran also apparently used foreign assistance to advance its cyber warfare. On Sep. 4, 2012, state-run Fars News Agency reported that the “signing of an agreement between Iran and North Korea to confront cyber-attacks has raised concerns in the west.”

The Way Forward

Access to free, safe and secure Internet is now a new battleground pitting the people against the regime. Data show nearly 48 million Iranians have smartphones and about 50 percent have access to the Internet. As the call for freedom and regime change grows louder in Iran, it is crucial to understand how the international community could stand on the side of the pro-democracy movement by implementing effective measures to curb and confront the regime’s cyberspace repression of the Iranian people. That outcome requires designation of all entities and individuals in Iran engaged in cyber warfare, including enforcing Executive Order 13606.

This order of President Obama’s from April 22, 2012, prohibits any entity to facilitate the Iranian regime in its “computer and network disruption, monitoring, and tracking” and “or otherwise provided, directly or indirectly, goods, services, or technology” that can be used to “enable serious human rights abuses by or on behalf of the Government of Iran.”

Successful cyber warfare against the Iranian regime requires a comprehensive and decisive policy to include the full implementation of the current sanctions against the IRGC and its front companies, as well as measures necessary to evict the IRGC from the regional countries, especially Syria. Finally, the resistance should be offered cyber technology from the West.

The Ladies vs. the Mullahs

January 14, 2018

The Ladies vs. the Mullahs, American ThinkerManda Zand Ervin, January 14, 2018

The theocratic tyranny in Iran is, by all definitions, international laws and United Nations resolutions, a gender apartheid regime, vehemently and actively opposed by the people of Iran.  Isn’t it past time for Western democracies and women to cease support for Tehran?  Instead, shouldn’t support go to the legacy of the Ladies’ Secret Societies and the brave women who are its descendants?

******************************

No one knows her name, but a young Iranian woman waving a white scarf has become a symbol of almost forty years of struggle by Iranian women, protesting the gender apartheid that clerics brought to our country, overnight, in the winter of 1979.  She waved a white scarf in the air as a symbol of peaceful defiance and a campaign, #MyStealthyFreedom, of women fighting for their right to feel the wind in their hair in Iran, the country of my birth.

The reaction of the paramilitary forces of the regime has not been so peaceful, with this young woman allegedly detained and other protesters killed by the dictatorial theocracy of Iran, which demands that women cover their hair.

The young woman’s struggle is part of a longer battle that Iranian women and men have fought against the Shia clergy’s thirst for power and wealth since the 1840s, when a band of organizations, the Ladies’ Secret Societies, emerged to take Iran back from occupying clergy.  They prevailed with the 1906 Constitutional Revolution that established a secular system of governance and separation of religion and state.  They hearkened back to a secular philosophy that has defined the Persian Empire since the year 539 B.C., when the emperor of Persia, Cyrus the Great, wrote the first proclamation of human rights and separation of religion from the state.

However, a few clerics, like the ayatollah Khomeini, would not give up.  He knew that the Iranian people did not want clerical rule and that he would never be able to take over Iran through a democratic process.  Khomeini needed America’s power and shopped for the support of U.S. presidents, beginning by writing to John F. Kennedy but succeeding only in fooling former president Jimmy Carter’s administration, which took the bait and helped Khomeini take Iran in 1979.

Today, the people of Iran call the ideology that controls every aspect of their lives “political Islam.”  You cannot convince a single Iranian that his dictatorial rulers care about Iran and Iranians.  Khomeini told us, “Iran is only a base and financial source for us to establish the rule of Islam throughout the world.”

The uprisings of the people of Iran, trending now with the hashtag #IranProtests, are nothing new.  The women of Iran have been fighting since the day Khomeini announced the imposition of his regressive sharia law on the people, making the free and equal women of Iran and their children property of men, perhaps better defined as “slaves.”  We marched day after day, in the rain and snow, with little support from the West.  I lost friends to prison, assassination, and exile.  My father begged me to go into exile, and I did, fleeing with my young daughter, tears in our eyes.

Iranians endured eight years of a bloody and inhumane war between Khomeini and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, with an estimated one million young boys and men of Iran dying.

The women of Iran have constantly protested in defiance of sharia laws, to be arrested, tortured, and abused in prisons.

In 1998, Tehran University students rose up in protest, in support of a professor who was fired and replaced by an illiterate, elderly cleric.  The protests lasted for weeks and ended with over 8,000 dead young students of Iran, with unknown numbers in prisons.

During the decades of 1990s and the 2000s, as the West entertained handpicked presidents of Iran, the women of Iran continuously demonstrated for their human rights and were beaten, arrested, and imprisoned.

On Sept. 18, 2001, defying the regime’s warnings and pressure, brave Iranians were the only people in the Middle East to hold a candlelight vigil in solidarity with America.  The thousands who marched peacefully down one of the main boulevards of Tehran were brutally attacked by Revolutionary Guards and paramilitary forces.  Many paid a high price for their bravery.  They were arrested and hauled off to prison.

In 2006, women organized a march and handed out 5,000 brochures that explained that sharia laws imprison the people.  They were attacked and arrested.

In 2007 and 2008, women began the One Million Signature Movement, a petition against sharia laws.  In one week, more men and women volunteered to collect signatures in every city of Iran.  The One Million Signature Movement brought to life the brave women of Iran, who quickly established organizations and websites.  But the inevitable happened.  In the early morning, paramilitary forces kicked in the doors to the women’s homes and beat them up in front of their husbands and children before taking them away to prison with their collected signatures.

In 2008, many Iranians, backed by world human rights organizations, proposed that the Nobel Peace Prize be given to the women of Iran for the One Million Signature Movement for courageous acts of defending human rights.  The academy gave it, instead, to the new president of the United States.

The next year, fearless women led the Green Movement of the people of Iran.  All they wanted was for Western democracies to stop empowering the dictatorial regime.  For days, they chanted, “Obama!  Obama!  Are you with them or with us?”  The world watched, mostly in silence, as they were killed.  I gasped in horror as I watched a young woman activist, Neda Agha-Soltan, take her last breaths after being shot by a sniper in a video captured by her friends.  Obama decided to stay aligned with the gender apartheid tyrants of Iran.

The theocratic tyranny in Iran is, by all definitions, international laws and United Nations resolutions, a gender apartheid regime, vehemently and actively opposed by the people of Iran.  Isn’t it past time for Western democracies and women to cease support for Tehran?  Instead, shouldn’t support go to the legacy of the Ladies’ Secret Societies and the brave women who are its descendants?

Manda Zand Ervin is a human rights activist, born in Iran and living in exile in the United States.  She is the author of the forthcoming book The Ladies’ Secret Societies.