Iran collapses under Islamic fundamentalism
January 25 (UPI) – As the country with the second largest reserves of gas and oil in the world, Iran is a crumbling ruin, a legacy of 42 years of Islamic fundamentalism.
Iran’s ruling theocratic dictatorship has been a disaster for its 80 million predominantly young citizens, the majority of whom have known no other government. Young Iranians are predominantly secular and non-religious, but they are tech-savvy and envious of the freedoms they recognize in the West.
Yet they are chained to the dictates of a fascist and clerical regime, led by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who believes himself to be the representative of God on earth and exercises ultimate power over the nation. Khamenei presides over a pyramid of corruption. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the regime’s Gestapo, responds directly to it and controls most of the economy, including all Iranian monetary and financial institutions.
On February 28, 1979, immediately after the revolution, the regime created the Foundation for the Underprivileged. Some 28 private banks and heavy industries covering steel, aluminum and vehicles have all been confiscated by the state, along with the properties of all the biggest companies, which were the backbone of Iran’s economy. All were nationalized and turned over to the foundation, which was completely controlled by the then supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
This foundation has a net worth of billions of dollars. It receives its funding directly from the government, it pays no taxes and has no responsibility for how it spends its money. The IRGC has a tight grip on this foundation, which also runs construction companies and missile factories and is largely responsible for Iran’s ongoing nuclear program.
As the heir to this immense wealth, Ali Khamenei is desperately trying to consolidate his position. Sanctions imposed by the US government’s “maximum pressure” campaign have crippled the Iranian economy, limiting the mullahs’ ability to exploit their oil and gas resources and finance their aggressive interference in the Middle East.
Khamenei has coveted the top-secret plan to develop a nuclear bomb for decades and was dismayed when its existence was revealed to the West in 2002 by the Mujahedin e-Khalq, the main opposition movement. But the nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed by US President Barack Obama in 2015 was deeply flawed. He prevented inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency from inspecting military sites in Iran, where, of course, all covert nuclear weapons production was – and still is – underway.
President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the deal and the mullahs openly bragged about accelerating their uranium enrichment program to 20% purity, in blatant violation of the Obama deal. , which capped the purity at 3.67%. This move brings Iran closer to producing military-grade uranium.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps Iran out of control, with an estimated death toll of over 205,000, Iran’s descent into economic chaos continues. With soaring unemployment, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling currency, besieged citizens are crying out for help. People sell their organs, kidneys, and bone marrow to try to avoid starvation.
Some 20,000 people sleep rough in Tehran alone, 5,000 of them women. But as Iran sits on an ocean of oil and gas, the mullahs’ regime’s policies of looting and incompetence have resulted in power outages, inflicting enormous suffering on the Iranian people during the colder months. of the year.
President Hassan Rouhani outrageously claimed that the Iranian public was “facing starvation due to the coronavirus epidemic” and “shedding tears of joy” because of the services provided by the regime. But in a determined snub to the West, he rejected offers of COVID-19 vaccine supplies from Pfizer and Moderna laboratories approved by the World Health Organization and informed the Iranian public that they will receive another vaccine from the World Health Organization. ‘here the summer of an unidentified third country.
Blatant corruption, repression and economic incompetence have led to a wave of protests with nationwide protests and strikes and demands for regime change. In blind panic, the mullahs, as usual, deployed the IRGC to mercilessly suppress protesters and strikers, killing hundreds and arresting thousands. There has been a continuous wave of torture and executions of political prisoners in an attempt to bring the population into submission. In an explosive report released on Wednesday, Amnesty International said international action was needed to break the cycle of bloody protests by authorities in Iran.
Deaf to international condemnation and national protests, the Islamic Republic continued its policy of aggressive military expansionism across the Middle East, dumping men and resources into Bashar al-Assad’s murderous civil war in Syria, the campaign genocidal against the Sunni population of neighboring Iraq, support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen and its financing of Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.
The mullahs also continued to excel in their role as international godfathers of terror, sending their diplomats on missions to bomb and assassinate hundreds of people in Europe. In 2018, the Ambassador and the First Secretary of Iran were expelled from Albania for their participation in a bombing plot.
Meanwhile, the verdict in the trial of Assadollah Assadi and three co-conspirators will be delivered on February 4 in a Belgian court in Antwerp. Assadi, a senior diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Austria, has been accused of handing over a 500g bomb and detonator to three Iranian agents and ordering them to bomb a huge opposition rally which assisted tens of thousands of expatriate Iranians and dozens of Europeans and Americans in Villepinte near Paris in June 2018.
New US President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Tony Blinken should think twice before reopening diplomatic relations with this pariah regime, or lifting sanctions in an attempt to revive the dying nuclear deal. The United States, the European Union and the United Nations must begin a new policy of support for the oppressed Iranian people and not their tyrannical leaders.
Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Change in Iran. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), chairman of the Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup (2004 -14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Association for Iraqi Freedom.