U.S. should encourage Iran’s counter-revolution
By Shoshana Bryen
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)–It is tempting in the midst of “snowmageddon” here in Washington, to hunker down and forget that anyone is out beyond our immediate very white sphere, but Thursday, Feb. 11, is the 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution. It has been 30 years of Shiite triumphalism, impoverishing and brutalizing the people at home and supporting anti-Western, anti-Semitic, intolerant, misogynistic and homophobic allies abroad. The United States has, for those 30 years, tried overtly and covertly to find a way to deal with the regime (both “moderates” and “hard liners,” although the difference is not clear) and stabilize the region.
Iran’s continued pursuit of missiles and nuclear technology, coupled with frank threats to destroy a UN member country and rattle a number of others, finally pushed President Obama to consider withdrawing that open hand he proffered upon his inauguration. Even The New York Times has had enough. Opining that although even after the revelation of a second enrichment facility, the President had been right to seek to engage the regime, now, “Iran needs to understand that its nuclear ambition comes with a very high cost.”
Both The Times and the administration are considering new sanctions, but recognize that they will be slow to emerge from among the allies and that Russia and China may not be allies at all. Maybe we need something faster.
For years, observers have called Iran a race between the bomb and the second Iranian revolution. Could Thursday be the denouement? Ahmadinejad is clearly organizing massively to put down the planned anti-government demonstrations without mercy. Some have called it the “Tiananmen option.” (Brave Iranians contemplating being in the streets should give a small prayer of thanks that Charles Freeman, who thought the Chinese mistake was not putting down the demonstrations hard enough and fast enough, never made it to be President Obama’s NIC Chairman.)
The Administration should use the 30th anniversary to openly support the people of Iran in their discontent and remind the Iranian government that there will be consequences for brutality-and we have to mean it. Without waiting for allies to sign on, the United States could increase our broadcasting into Iran as a way to let Iranians hear the truth about what is happening in their country. And not only what is happening, but what we believe.
It is said that the biggest snowfall ever in the Washington area was in 1772. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington noted in their diaries as much as three feet. Perhaps Jefferson is on our minds, then, as we watch today’s snowfall coming close to that unofficial record.
But we cannot imagine the Iranians would not understand the import of the President of the United States taking to the airways to read the Declaration of Independence on the anniversary of their revolution…. “When in the course of human events… unalienable Rights… Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… Governments… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
Or hearing John Lennon’s 1971, “Power to the People.”
Bryen is senior director of security policy of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Her column is sponsored by Waxie Sanitary Supply in memory of Morris Wax, longtime JINSA supporter and national board member