Townhall | Majid Rafizadeh | Oct 31, 2021
The international community’s patience is growing thin as the Iranian regime’s nuclear defiance and regional terrorism intensify.
At the same time, credible accusations that the regime’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, was involved in the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, are making it harder for other countries to engage and negotiate with a genocidal president.
The Iranian regime is dealing with a multitude of crises and challenges. The economy is in shambles, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc, the unemployment rate continues to set new records, and the official inflation rate is now over 50 percent.
Former VP Mike Pence endorses the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) — a group widely regarded to be a cult that has little popular support within Iran.
Calls leader Maryam Rajavi "an inspiration to the world." pic.twitter.com/WAT1OFkNHI
— bryan metzger (@metzgov) October 29, 2021
State corruption is at an all-time high, and to make matters worse, the regime is not easing astronomical expenditures on its costly nuclear, missiles, and drones projects.
These are essential ingredients for massive social unrest, and the regime knows it. It is terrified of a repeat of the 2019 uprisings, which shook the entire country. The theocracy barely survived after conducting an unprecedented killings spree, gunning down at least 1,500 protesters on the streets in a few days.
The latest presidential election farce displayed the growing chasm between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime, which is shaken by numerous protests and uprisings. The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei installed Raisi as president and appointed an equally cruel judiciary chief to suppress all forms of dissent and opposition to his increasingly fragile rule.
For his part, Raisi has formed a cabinet full of members of the security apparatus, the Quds Force, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in yet another indication of a regime that is deadly afraid of uprisings.
But the regime’s crises are so deep-rooted that the wisdom of such policies is highly questionable. The sheer force of the socio-economic and political disasters created by the theocracy seems capable of inducing its downfall. Almost every sector of society is out in force with a growing list of demands and grievances, which the regime cannot address.
Moreover, there are rapidly mounting calls for Raisi’s international prosecution. It is believed that in 1988, Raisi was one of the four members of the so-called “Death Committees” that carried out the executions of over 30,000 political opponents, the majority of whom were members of the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).
The UN’s top official in charge of investigating human rights violations has on several occasions referred to the need for an international inquiry into Raisi’s role in the heinous massacre. The1988killings have been described as a crime against humanity and even genocide by respected human rights experts and lawyers.
As Tehran’s threats grow, the international community cannot sit silent. There are a number of immediate measures that can be adopted.
First, Arab nations, the European Union and the United States should focus the spotlight on Raisi’s human rights violations, particularly his role in the 1988 massacre and the suppression of protesters in November 2019.
Second, these international parties must practically pursue the prosecution of Raisi in international tribunals. The evidence is there, but the political will is missing. This is becoming crystal clear to thousands of lawmakers and human rights activists on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, on Thursday, a bipartisan summit was held in Washington, D.C. to discuss Raisi’s involvement in the 1988 massacre and to call on governments to pursue his immediate prosecution. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the leading opposition coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), joined a stellar roster of senior former officials in addressing the summit.
“Regime change in Iran, by the Iranian people and their Resistance, is inevitable, and nothing can prevent it. It is time for the world to recognize this fact as well. The people of Iran expect governments, including the U.S. and the European governments, to revise their policy on Iran and side with the Iranian people,” said the dissident leader.
The conference took place on the heels of the G20 summit and was attended by about 1,000 leaders of the Iranian American community. Among the speakers was former Vice President Mike Pence. He highlighted an important point, which can be the foundation for the third step that the international community can take. “One of the biggest lies the ruling regime has sold the world is that there’s no alternative to the status quo. But there is an alternative, well organized, fully prepared, perfectly qualified and popularly supported alternative called the MEK,” Mr. Pence said.
Indeed, the statement carries enormous political significance. It is not enough to pressure the ruling regime. One must also be clear-eyed about feasible alternatives. The organized opposition to the theocracy should not be ignored.
The Iranian people are rejecting the regime in droves. The international community has to align with this historically significant movement. As the regime’s political and strategic capital continues to deplete, the world must learn to stand with the Iranian people sooner than later.