Iranians do their best to avoid direct conflict by relying on proxies. However, if these proxies are known, Iran fears that it will be blamed for any actions by their proxies.
The reaction to Iran’s attack on Israel and the retaliation against Iranian bases in Syria did not create a big reaction inside Iran besides government-organized rallies.
U.S. President Donald Trump has helped create a situation where there is a chance for the liberation of the Iranian people from their oppressive government.
There is infighting among the highest levels of the Iranian leadership. They accuse each other of corruption, which is normal in the Middle East, fearing the people would rise up. If the regime clamps down on the people, it’s our job to encourage the people—like Trump just did—and maybe find ways to help the people. But the Iranian people must own their future, as well as the results for whatever happens.
Iran has many ethnic and religious minorities, but the vast majority are Shi’ite. Any government that comes after this tyrannical regime must be inclusive so that the regime has a better chance to survive.
Bottom line: Does the regime have the will and the ability to do what is necessary to keep itself in power? For the first time since the 1978-79 revolution, the answer to this question might not be yes. The United States might be able to help with the “ability” question—and the regime clearly fears that the Americans will respond to them directly if anything happens. We know this because they have stopped provoking American ships in the Gulf since Trump was elected, and by their saying that they will follow the nuclear agreement even if the United States pulls out.
We should look for ways to unite the Iranian opposition and support those who support liberal values.
As for the people in Iran, things can turn on a dime. I witnessed this fickleness among protesters when I was in Iran. Protesters that support this regime could easily switch allegiances.
What about the future?
The Iranians are a mystical people, and look for signs from G-d to understand events. That’s what happened in late April, and possibly signals a way to move forward in the event the Iranian people manage to throw out their terrorist leaders.
In late April, the Iranians uncovered the body of Reza Shah, the founder of the last dynasty who was a great modernizer and Westernizer.
When he died, his son, the last Shah built a mausoleum of him. When his son – the previous Shah was overthrown, the Islamic regime went to great lengths to destroy the Shah’s father’s mausoleum and mutilate his body.
But miraculously, they could not find the body, which was only discovered late last month.
Was this a sign from G-d that Iran should return to the ways of the previous dynasty.
And to make matters even more interesting, the late Shah’s son – coincidentally named after his grandfather Reza, lives in exile, and could be a figure around which the regime’s enemies might coalesce. After all, was it a mere coincidence that the body was discovered and that his grandson is the only widely known opposition leader in Iran? By the discovery of the body, was this a sign from G-d that the Iranian people should support him?
Iranians are discussing this question now. Reza Pahlavi does not want to rule Iran, but possibly be a force to bring together the various groups to find a better future for that country.
Now if the US would indicate it’s willingness to consider this option, Iranians could easily also see this as part of G-d’s plan. This might just be a way for the great Iranian people to end their misery and rejoin the community of nations as the respected people they had been before the Islamic Revolution.
Harold Rhode received in Ph.D. in Ottoman history and later served as the Turkish Desk Officer at the U.S. Department of Defense. He is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.
The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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