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Trump’s Maximum Pressure Strategy On Iran Working, But…

Iran protests
If you only tune-in to the establishment media, and that includes what we call the “establishment conservative” media you might not be aware that our mortal enemy, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is in the grip of civil unrest that has the potential to bring down the anti-American regime.

As our friend Clare M. Lopez, former career operations officer with the CIA and now Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, explained in a recent column for NewsMax, while the Iranian people have been protesting in the streets since late 2017, since Friday, November 15, 2019, there’s been a violent new outpouring of disgust for the mullahs and their defending thugs in the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), MOIS (Ministry of Intelligence and Security), and national police. That includes Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the entire Velayat-e Faqih system of Islamic domination over Iranian society.

The ostensible reason for the latest and most violent protests wrote Ms. Lopez, is a 400% increase in the price for gasoline, in effect, by removal of subsidies that previously kept that price at an absurdly low level.

Popular outrage at the price increase, coupled with further stringent rationing, attests to the desperate level of economic hardship experienced by the Iranian people, at least partly as a result of Trump administration sanctions.

The extent of the protests — now in all of Iran’s 31 provinces — the sustained, violent nature of them even in the face of a brutal crackdown by Iranian security forces, plus the expansion of popular complaint to include regime corruption, mandatory hijab, mismanagement, and diversion of massive amounts of funding to support for Iran’s terror proxies abroad, all mark this uprising as different than the Green Revolution of 2009 or even the many thousands of demonstrations that have been ongoing since late 2017 explained Ms. Lopez.

The protests were so violent and so pervasive that the Islamist regime even cut Iran off from the rest of the world by shutting down the internet.

Editor’s Note: Major protests are going on in Iranian-influenced Iraq and Lebanon as well.

According to the Editors of The Free Iran Herald (courtesy of the Gateway Pundit) in addition to having cut off Internet access, the regime is also exerting a censorship on journalists so severe now that even those who previously had worked within the regime’s press are going on strike against it.

Amir Taheri (@AmirTaheri4), formerly a prominent Iranian newspaper editor, tweeted:

Syndicate of Iranian Journalists in Tehran issues statement protesting shutdown of Internet for public use while part remains open for elements linked with regime. Statement denounces restrictions on reporters wishing to cover events. Regrets "doctored" reports by Western media.

And later:

INTERESTING- Since many journalists inside Iran are reluctant to produce lies for regime on the current uprising, Islamic Security uses translations from some Western agencies, notably #AFP, and comments by pro-regime lobbies in #US & #Europe to promote a false picture of events.

Things have gotten so bad for the regime in the streets across Iran that Hossein Shariatmadari, top editor of the regime's mouthpiece newspaper, Kayhan, called for the execution of protesters.

In a panic over the spread of anti-government protests in Iran, Kayhan, referring to Iranian civil rights protesters wrote: “Hoodlums should prepare for the noose…as their religious punishment is execution.”

And there is real international concern that the regime is already planning on massacring the thousands of protesters they’ve arrested over the past week.

The judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, who oversaw the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, said a few days ago before a gathering of the regime’s paramilitary Basij members, that “Under no circumstances will we allow the least amount of disruption.” Ahmad Khatami, another leading cleric, referred to the protestors as “corrupt on earth” (the highest level of crime under the Islamic regime’s laws) and called for their execution.

There’s no doubt that if protests of this nature were occurring in the streets of a Muslim nation aligned with the United States, say Egypt or Saudi Arabia, there would be wall-to-wall media coverage featuring video smuggled out of the country even as the internet was being blocked.

But to give that kind of coverage to protests against the Islamic Republic of Iran would require the establishment media to acknowledge two inescapable facts they can’t allow into the public square.

The first is the corruption and absolute moral bankruptcy of Obama’s dealings with Islamist regime. The plane loads of unmarked bills Obama sent to the ayatollahs is what allowed them to keep fuel prices artificially low, while they bankrolled anti-American terrorist organizations around the world and built up their nuclear bomb-making capacity.

The second is the inescapable fact that President Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy is contributing to the instability of the economy of the Islamic Republic and giving Trump credit for anything – especially in the foreign policy arena – is an impossibility for the establishment media.

So, can we just keep doing what we are doing, and hope sanctions bring down the Islamist regime?

We’ve seen this movie before and Clare Lopez says it is time to say NO. Ever more sanctions are not the answer, despite the dire straits in which they undoubtably have placed the Tehran regime, writes Ms. Lopez, the regime will always prioritize its own jihadist agenda over the needs of its people.

Worse, says Ms. Lopez, sanctions tend to solidify the grip of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which already controls a minimum of 30% of the Iranian economy, because IRGC commanders and their regime cohorts are the ones who control the tightening import and export spigots — to their own massive profit.

Ms. Lopez says now is the time finally to confront the head of the snake.

To that end, Ms Lopez proposes we should begin by ensuring the protesters have the communications technology support they need to circumvent regime attempts to shut down internet and telephone connections. Assignment of 3,000 fresh troops to Saudi Arabia and unswerving support for Israel are exactly right. More tangible (preferably covert) support to the brave freedom fighters in the streets would be even better.

Diplomatic pronouncements about hoping the Tehran regime changes its behavior to conform to international norms and hopeful statements about negotiations only bring despair to the brave Iranians, Iraqis, and Lebanese putting their lives on the line to be free of the oppressive tyrants that make their lives miserable.

The bottom line: We’re in a race between whether the people of Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon finally will win their liberty or Iran will deploy the nuclear weapons it seeks to solidify its grip on power indefinitely. The people protesting in the streets have the courage: do we have the resolve?

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