The demonstrations which have rocked Iran since the murder of young Iranian woman Mahsa Amini suggest some remarkable observations and sum up the reality of the Tehran regime today, which has been using all kinds of violence against its citizens.
The current protests should not be viewed from the perspective of whether or not the regime will fall. However, they should be viewed based on the perspective that the regime's real problem is on the inside – with Iranian citizens. Here are the women of Iran taking a stand against their religious leaders, demonstrating bravery that all of Iran’s affiliates in the region would not dare to.
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The regime can talk about conspiracy theories all it wants, but the first ones who will reject them are the Iranians themselves as they are well aware that the regime resorts to conspiracy theories at every crisis in a bid to escape forward and under the guise of unity against the enemy. The enemy of the mullahs, however, is the Iranian people themselves.
The recent demonstrations and the brutal repression of protesters by the Tehran regime are a source of real embarrassment for the United States and Europe, for they expose their hypocrisy and double standards vis-à-vis the countries of the region like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others, compared to the crimes committed by the Iranian regime.
In this context, fellow journalist Mohammed al-Yahya wrote in June 2022 an article entitled “The Young and the Restless,” in which he claims there is no future for the Middle East with frustrated youth. Al-Yahya says: “Perhaps the most significant point on which the Iranian and Saudi models diverge is the radically different approaches they offer to dealing with their countries’ youth.”
He adds: “While Iran utilizes and empowers backward, reactionary, anti-Western Islamist and police forces to crush the aspirations of its young people […], Saudi Arabia has chosen to draw on the energy of its youth in order to fight the dangerous and backward Islamist counter-current.” Al-Yahya further notes that "[s]ince the success or failure of these opposite approaches is likely to shape both the region and the larger Muslim world for decades to come, it is important for the West to choose wisely."
Indeed, many in the region today talk of Western hypocrisy and double standards.
Of course, the crimes of the mullahs of Tehran do not only occur in Iran but in the entire region through assassinations, be they physical (murder) or moral (accusations of treason), as well as the destruction of the concept of the Arab state.
Iran is destroying the concept of the Arab state not only through the power of arms and militias, but also by fragmenting the social fabric of Arab states, like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen, by fanning the flames of abhorrent sectarianism.
Surely, not only America and the West are embarrassed, but even the Assad regime, Hezbollah in Lebanon, armed sectarian militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.
All of these parties now feel cornered as to what would happen in Iran if the demonstrations undermine the regime. This is in addition to the fate of the Iranian Supreme Leader as press reports mention disputes over who will be his successor. We must also not forget that Iran has yet to recover from the killing of Qassem Soleimani. Imagine adding the absence of the Supreme Leader on top of that.
Therefore, Tehran's problems are domestic issues, and the enemy of the regime is the Iranian people. In short, the Iranian regime is weak, and the only ones who have yet to understand this are the United States and Europe, where some still believe in the superficial illusions of the Obama legacy.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, Pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.