By: Shahriar Kia
Riyadh Daily, 09 October 2017 - In his recent speech at the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated his resolve to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities, nuclear ambitions and its many affronts to international agreements and norms. But the remark that perhaps made the most impact, and was ostensibly ignored by Iranian officials and media, was one regarding the distinction between the ruling regime and the people, which he called, “The longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders.”
“The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want to change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear most,” Trump said during his speech. He also added, “This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers.”
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed Trump’s statements, describing them as “the first testimony by a US President over the past 38 years to underscore the need for regime change in Iran by the Iranian people, a cause that has been the declared policy of the Iranian Resistance for the past 36 years.”
The White House recently issued an executive order signed by Trump appointing various departments in charge of implementing the new sanctions imposed on Iran, North Korea and Russia. This sanctions bill that also blacklists Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
video: Terrorist Training Camps in Iran operated by IRGC
Since its founding, the religious fascism ruling Iran has maintained its hold on power through sheer violence and crackdown on any form of activism and protest. Today, Iran is the record holder of executions per capita and the leading executioner of juvenile offenders. Women, religious and ethnic minorities are being deprived of their most basic rights.
“[The Iranian regime] has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos,” Trump said in his speech. The Iranian people’s lives further spiral down into poverty as the regime continues to aggressively pursue its forays into neighboring countries. Meanwhile, it responds to demands by workers, teachers and other classes of the Iranian society for better livelihoods with force.
The international community’s disregard for the desires and aspirations of the Iranian people has been a major enabler for continued human rights abuses in the country. Absent any firm actions on the part of the international community, the Iranian regime has been trampling the most basic rights of its people with impunity and without fear of reprisal.
In 1988, the regime executed 30,000 political prisoners in the span of a few months, most of whom were arrested on bogus charges and had finished their sentence, even under the cruel standards of Iran’s rulers. Regretfully, this crime against humanity remains unpunished to this day. The international institutions have taken no concrete measure to investigate the event, and the perpetrators continue to occupy positions of power in the Iranian government.
Former Ambassador Ken Blackwell sent a letter to current Ambassador Nikki Haley on Friday, urging the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations to investigate horrific state-sponsored mass murders in Iran in 1988 that were finally confirmed with evidence last year.
More recently, in 2009, Barack Obama, Trump’s predecessor, decided to stay on the sidelines and assume a passive stance as Iranian security forces brutally suppressed nationwide protests that erupted following the contested presidential elections.
In this regard, Trump’s remarks mark a major shift from his predecessors and can form the basis of a new approach toward Iran. Calling for an independent and international investigation into the 1988 massacre and holding the regime to account for its numerous human rights abuses can be a good first step to show the Iranian people that the world will not stand by as they suffer at the hands of their tyrannical rulers.
By standing with the people of Iran in their plight for freedom and democracy, the international community will ally itself with the greatest force that opposes Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and its destabilizing activities in the Middle East region.