On November 12th a 7.3-magnitude quake struck the western province of Kermanshah in Iran injuring more than 12,000 people, leaving thousands homeless and according to many media outlets left more than 500 dead. For countless Iranians living in Iran and outside the country, including myself, the images and videos on social media about the devastation of this earthquake to these innocent people in Iran has been heartbreaking on many levels. Obviously the massive loss of life, thousands left injured and without homes is beyond horrific. Yet what is even more horrendous about this crisis is the Iranian regime’s complete lack of urgent medical support, lack of search and rescue efforts and lack of all other essential aid for the victims of this earthquake! Today while thousands of dead lay underneath the rubble of poorly built mud or brick buildings, hundreds of thousands more are suffering from injuries untreated, a lack of food, a lack of electricity, a lack of running water and facilities and also exposure to the cold elements in this mountainous region during the winter months. A number of Iran’s ruling clerics have even gone on state-run-media outlets and flat out told the people of Iran not to look to the government for help but instead rely on private charities and foreign groups to help the victims of the earthquake! Thankfully the highways into Kermanshah have been jammed with private good-willed Iranians rushing into the area to help their fellow Iranians in distress. Numerous individual Iranians living outside the country and foreign aid groups have also stepped in to help those suffering in Kermanshah. Ultimately the Iranian regime’s total failure to help the victims of this latest natural disaster is not only shameful but more evidence that Iran is run by brutal criminals who are corrupt, uncaring of the populations needs and downright incompetent to run the country properly. The Iranian regime’s total lack of consideration for the people of Iran during this earthquake is only the latest event in a near 40 year history of their failure in ruling the country and proof that the people of Iran deserve better than the radical Islamic clerics controlling Iran today.
Those of us Iranians living outside of Iran during the last four decades have seen with our own eyes how Iran, a once developing modernizing nation in the Middle East, has been reduced to a poverty stricken and neglected country. The ayatollahs ruling Iran with an iron-fist have sent its economy into a downward spiral despite the abundance of natural resources, oil and gas in Iran. The radical Islamic clerics who have ruthless ruled Iran since 1979 have done nothing to improve the lives of Iran’s 70 million population, the majority of whom are under the age of 40 today. The regime’s ayatollahs, armed thugs and their Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have instead personally lined their own pockets with billions of dollars from the country’s sale of oil and natural gas. Revenue from the sale of oil, natural gas and other minerals Iran have not been spent on improving the quality of life for average Iranians during the past four decades. Aside from financially raping the country for their own monetary gain, the Iranian regime’s rulers and armed thugs have also poured billions into financial support and arming terrorist groups in the Middle East to advance their radical Shiite Islamic ideology. In fact Iranian regime officials frequently appear on state-run television programs and boast about funding Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Of course the Iranian regime openly publicizes its financial and military support for Hezbollah, their very own Shiite Islamic terrorist organization based in Southern Lebanon. Experts who monitor Hezbollah believe the terror group receives $350 million each year from the Iranian regime to provide its members’ salaries, money to the families of killed Hezbollah members and to arm the group with weaponry. As a result of Iranian regime’s extensive financial and military support of Hezbollah, the terror group has effectively taken over Lebanon and even parts of Syria today. In August of this year Hamas officials traveling to Iran told Arab media outlets that the Iranian regime has renewed their funding of the terror group. While Hamas officials have not recently disclosed how much financial support they will be received from the Iranian ayatollahs, in 2012 the Iranian regime through its own media outlets boasted that it gave Hamas $50 million a month. Obvious to all, Hamas has not used the funds received from the Iranian regime for the betterment of its own people suffering in extreme poverty in Gaza, but instead armed itself with advanced rockets and other weaponry in its on-going war against Israel since 2007. In the end, the Iranian regime’s proud and unrelenting support of terrorist organizations for decades has led to the U.S. and many European countries slapping the regime in Tehran with economic sanctions over the years. While many of these economic sanctions have targeted the regime’s authorities and members of the IRGC, average Iranians have also indirectly suffered financially– but the Iranian regime has still not stopped their aggressive support of radical Islamic terror in order to give the people of Iran true economic prosperity.
While the Iranian regime’s funding of terror groups outside of Iran has been extensive, the Iranian regime’s rulers have also poured billions into growing their own military campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The Iranian regime’s recent hegemonic expansion through wars into other areas of the Middle East has been made possible due to sanctions relief from the Obama administration’s insane “Iran Deal” and also from the $1.8 billion in cash the Obama administration blindly and stupidly handed over the Iranian ayatollahs in 2016! Now flush with cash, the Iranian regime’s rulers have not poured a penny of this money into rebuilding the country’s infrastructure, not helped to reduce the nation’s double digit unemployment problem, not ended hunger and poverty in Iran, not provided medical aid to the elderly and sick, not stopped the epidemic of drug abuse in the country and not improved the overall lives of average people in Iran. Instead this selfish regime has chosen a path of war, terror, killings that have spread across the Middle East like wildfire. In August of this year alone, the Iranian regime’s “parliament” unanimously approved $600 million to further develop Iran’s ballistic missile program and fund the IRGC. Of course the Iranian regime has also poured billions into their nuclear weapons program which they completely deny but evidence shows it is alive and well. According to various Iranian state-run media outlets, Iran’s five military entities enjoy an annual budget of $13.5 billion of which $7.4 billion goes directly to the IRGC. And despite all of the regime’s billions poured into their military campaigns and sponsorship of terrorist groups, the people of Iran still continue to suffer tremendously. United Nations and international human rights group estimate that today nearly 40 percent of the people in Iran are living in total poverty with 13 million homeless in city outskirt slums and 14 million who cannot even afford their daily meals.
As if the Iranian regime’s rulers and the military entities making themselves richer off the nation wealth and also promoting upheaval in the entire Middle East were not bad enough, the regime in Tehran has for nearly four decades had a horrendous human rights record. According to Amnesty International, in 2016 alone, Iran executed more than 500 people– including at least two who were children when they allegedly committed their crimes. Human rights groups including the U.N. human rights commission on Iran estimate that the Iranian regime is only second in the world behind China in the number of executions it carries out each year. Typically the Iranian regime has executed those convicted of petty drug related crimes. Anyone whom the regime deems as a threat to their power is also arrested, tortured and often executed without much of any legal due process. In the past, the Iranian regime’s authorities have severely cracked down on and arrested students seeking governmental reforms, journalists, artists, labor union leaders, homosexuals and anyone who does not follow their strict Shiite Islamic dogma. Average Iranians in Iran have their internet and satellite television connections blocked or jammed by the regime. People in Iran lack freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association and most all other individual freedoms that people in the West enjoy and often take for granted. Women in Iran are also treated poorly and have little rights since the regime follows strict Islamic dogma. Typically women and children are typically seen by the regime as the physical properties of their husbands, fathers or elder male relatives. Likewise, the Iranian regime recognized religious minorities in Iran including Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, but these individuals are considered third class citizens with even fewer rights than Muslims. People of the Baha’i faith living in Iran have no rights under the laws of the regime and typically subject to random arrests, torture and even being killed. In essence the people of Iran today live under a very brutal and unforgiving regime that has left them with limited economic opportunities and no personal freedoms to live their lives normally and at peace.
Based on the Iranian regime’s horrific long track record of human rights abuses, economic neglect, corruption and spreading of conflicts throughout the Middle East, in my humble opinion the people of Iran deserve better! The people of Iran, the majority of who are younger, deserve a government that offers them more freedoms, democracy, better economic opportunities and pours the nation’s wealth from the sale of oil and gas into improving their lives. As an Iranian myself, I know the vast majority of Iranians worldwide are very friendly, humble and peace-loving people. The people of Iran are proud of their rich heritage which dates back to the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great, who is known throughout the world as the first ruler who offered human rights and freedom to all people in his empire. Cyrus’ legacy of freedom and human rights is something the people of Iran still try to cling to today, but instead must endure the yoke of oppression from the deadly and brutal dictatorship of the current radical Islamic regime ruling Iran. Numerous Iranians in Iran today are also very educated and intelligent people who have excelled in the fields of science, medicine, engineering and the high-tech sector. These educated Iranians deserve better qualities of life and individual economic prosperity. Instead the current Iranian regime offers its citizens a bleak future of repression of freedoms, war and utter poverty.
So what’s the solution? Empowering the people of Iran, especially the younger generation to bring about regime change in their own country on their own terms. The U.S. and the west cannot force out this radical Islamic regime by any military campaign. This regime change must come about by the people of Iran themselves who are emboldened with political support from Europe and America as well as economic pressure placed on the Iranian regime. Through peaceful civil disobedience, through general strikes and through support from outside Farsi language media outlets to hear the voices of the millions who have been suffering under this evil regime in Iran, then perhaps one may be able to slowly bring about change in their system of government. More crippling sanctions, a halt to major trade and commerce with Iran by other countries and major diplomatic isolation may also bring the Iranian regime to its knees without any military intervention. During the fraudulent 2009 elections in Iran, we all witnessed hundreds of thousands of young Iranians matching in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities calling for the removal of this regime because of its oppressive and totalitarian nature. Unfortunately former President Obama and his administration for nearly one week said nothing and did nothing to support these Iranian protestors who were ready to begin a process of ousting the Iranian regime. The silence of the Obama administration was incredibly damaging to their morale and the movement of those in Iran who wanted to bring about change in their government. The Obama administration’s failure to quickly and boldly voice strong support for the Iranian protestors against the ayatollahs resulted in a missed opportunity by the U.S. to help bring about a peaceful change in regime in Iran. Instead by remaining silent on the sidelines during the 2009 protests, the Obama administration wanted to appease the Iranian ayatollahs in order to get some sort of “diplomatic deal” with the Iranian regime. THIS WAS A MAJOR MISTAKE! Today we see the Iranian regime cracking down harder on individual freedoms in Iran and expanding its military power throughout much of the Middle East. The foolish appeasement of the ayatollahs ruling Iran by Obama has emboldened them and given new life to their evil regime instead of freeing the people of Iran from the shackles of a radical Islamic dictatorship. The average people of Iran deserve better than this evil radical Islamic regime ruling them through brute force and oppression. We in the West have a duty to help them and bring about a better situation for their lives.