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Protests in Iran, We Need To Do Better

Protests in Iran, We Need To Do Better

We have seen the video’s, all across Iran there are protests breaking out with citizens there tired of the corruption, the stifling religious oppression, the loss of revenue to aid the citizens being spent to try to prop up different war zones across the Middle East. But is this the first time this has happened? It is not, but last time it was quickly subdued when they called for Obama’s support, he turned his back at them and threw them to the wolves, his ruinous nuke deal with Iran was more important than practicing what he preached, pushing for freedom for all people.

Many have said we are in a fight with Iran, and we are, in a cold war type of fight, each side is arming and funding proxy groups that are doing the fighting for us, but it is a deadly fight none the less, with this ten’s of thousands are being slaughtered. And they are right, but this is also a fight between a more secular form of Islam and one that is pushed by the more radical actors.

Before we get started, I don’t want anyone to misunderstand, I am not by any means saying that nations like Saudi Arabia is a secular nation, the simple truth if not for their oil we would not be looking at them any differently than the Taliban today. But oil is a commodity that nations are willing to go to war, and with obvious reason, they need it to survive, so we make deals with radical actors like Iran, Pakistan, along with others and try to gently push them in a direction towards modernization, and most times we fail, and we do so in a spectacular fashion.

I am not here to rehash over Islam, is it at its core capable of secularism, or is it due to its all controlling political system of Sharia more a way of life, a code of legal laws, government set up, philosophical ideology and with that is thrown in religious teachings that bind all together. If you wish to go further into this, I suggest you read the article shown in the link before, I do show how Islam changes the demographics of nations in a way that is far outside what the numbers should dictate and that problems with the philosophy, I will not say it is a faith, it is so much more than that:


What we need to look at here is Iran, the problems that it is currently causing and what it has caused in the past. To look at this you need to look at the leadership, where they are coming from, and the problem and danger they pose not only to their part of the world but to the whole world.

The History

I am not going to go into the rich history of the Persian people, the kingdoms of Darius and others that conquered much of the known world, a history that is still very important to the Iranian people, they are very proud of where their place once stood in relation to the rest of the world, there are many that dream of driving them to this place once more.

We could get into much of what has driven not only theirs but the whole “Stan’s” that are in the area, the distrust, even though they work with the Russians due to the Circassian Genocide, where the Russians wiped out between 90 and 97% of the Circassia nation, this was due to the problems they had faced for years with their Muslim population, the Czarist forces decided it was better to slaughter and expel then try to subdue.

Much of what you see in  Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia, and Republic of Azerbaijan, they also suffered heavily at the hands of the Russians, first the Czarist forces, then the Bolshevik, go to the “Stans” you see this mistrust even to a greater degree (Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)  It is why even today while Iran deals with them, it is not at a point of trust, more a enemy of your enemy is a very useful tool, they still remember what Russia did the Muslim people when they were able. 

But to save time and space I am more interested in dealing with them from the 1900’s on. In the early 1900’s Iran was ruled by the Qajar dynasty, they were trying to be neutral in WW1, due to Russians garrisoned in their nation, then the moves by the Ottoman Empire capturing part of their territory they saw little choice but to become actively involved.

It was during this time, the commanding general of the Persian most able military units, the Iranian Cossack Brigade was tired by what he had seen as corruption in the Qajar dynasty and decided to lead a revolt, his name was Reza Khan, he was the founder or father of the Pahlavi dynasty having been crowned in 1925.

Much of this started at the end of the First World War, the British and Allies had seen Iran as a useful but they did pull out, the changing point came first with the Armenian and Iranian Assyrians were slaughtered in the Armenian Genocide by the Ottomans, then there was mass starvation in Northern Iran. After taking the crown he became more withdrawn, cruel is a better word, but he did work to modernize his nation. Through the years between the first world war and the second, then during the second world war the oil started to bring wealth to the nation, there rose a very popular minister within the government, Mohammad Mosaddegh.

Mosaddegh was very much a Iranian national, resented western control of Iranian resources, so started to try to make moves to work with the Russians to take control away from the West. Then to strip all Western control he moved to nationalize all oil production, that brought immediate reaction from Britain who had paid to bring the infrastructure, they put in place a total boycott of Iranian oil.

It was British financing of the opposition, then Mosaddegh moved to try to weaken the crown and put more power to the people that caused his demise in the end. He moved emergency powers, unseated the Shaw and moved to try to take complete control of the government To offset British, then later American pressure against him his moves towards Russia put in motion his overthrow. This is something to this day that many in Iran have never forgiven.


Further, this resentment was raised further by the moves of the Shaw, upon returning he become autocratic and sultanistic, he further caused problems with the clergy by forcing Westernization of the citizens, doing away with Islamic dress and forcing both men and women to dress and carry on as they did in the West. The freedom that was given was ignored, the forcing out of Islamic customs caused great concern within the clergy and the more conservative people within the nation, thus Ruhollah Khomeini rose in power, was thrown out, but returned to overthrow the Shaw.

Iran after the Revolution

After the overthrow of the Shaw, even though they considered Russia the lesser Satan, they knew they had to deal with one of the superpowers, they fell towards the Russians due to their help in trying to free them from Western control earlier. As they grew in power you saw support for radical elements around the Islamic world, their greatest threat to what they were trying to push was Saudi Arabia and their own radical ideology, two sides equally radical, both were powered by oil, but one was backed by the US, the other was not.

We saw the Iran/Iran wars, gas and other weapons of terror used, then after the war the hatred and resentment towards the West even grew greater, it is to where it is now. Iran is the major sponsor of most terrorist groups from Hamas to Hezbollah, the rebels in Yemen. When America was in Iraq, it was Iran training opposition fighters to battle us, it was IED’s made in Iran that were used to maim and kill our boys, that alone had me confused why Bush never went after them, but even after catching their general aiding Iraqi rebels we did nothing.

Today we are faced with a couple of choices, none of them are easy. We can sit back and do nothing, as Iran moves to further isolate and surround Israel, they are most likely going to draw it out to a war, one that Iran would lose and do so badly. If you look at the state of Iranian military hardware vs Israel’s, they would not do any better then the Arabs did in the six day war, but there is one problem, Iran has thousands of missiles aimed at Israel, on top of that they have Hezbollah with tens of thousands. One could see how this could quickly escalate if they did attack and decided to introduce any type of WMD, Israel would most likely respond massively in kind. Such a thing could draw in Russia and set off WW3.

The other route is to try to contain them, we have tried that, to date that has not worked out at all. I would say this is not viable any longer, it is a one way agreement, one they keep pushing and breaking, then demand that we pull back and play the victim.

The last was to deal with Iran is to give aid where it is needed, to these protesters. I am very sure that if the religious leaders are challenged they will strike at the protesters with extreme prejudice, this could in turn set the whole nation at odds. Many of the youth in the nation want nothing to do with this, they have only known the oppression of the regime, ones born from the 70’s on would not remember anything else. The problem is these same youth due to entertainment and the internet know what a free society is, they in many ways have rejected what their parents stood for, you turn on them and start to slaughter many of the one time supporters will turn on you in a hurry.

This is how we stop this, when the  violence ensues, and it will as sure as i am breathing, then you stand ready to give aid in any way you can, it is time these religious leaders answer for the evil they have pushed on the world, I would rather see them pay then the whole nation.

The other outcome of such a act would be that Iran if they were in a more secular government would not be as concerned about religious terrorist groups, radical Islamist support. You could very well see support for Groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, for Syria, and Yemen be put as a none priority, this would be a win for the world, but the Middle East is who would benefit the most.

A wise Chinese general years ago says a wise leader will figure out ways to win a war without firing a shot, with such a case we could avoid firing a shot by giving power back to the people in Iran.

But I have to caution as well, we have a history of interfering over there, to support tyrannical regimes for the sake of our political aspirations, if we continue all we try to do could backfire and do so in a terrible way.






About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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