Iran is dealing with the unknown and uncertainty following the election of Donald Trump. Trump has promised to make big changes in American policy and has harshly criticised the Iran nuclear deal that Obama was so proud of.
On numerous occasions Iran has broken terms of the nuclear deal. It has went over the agreed heavy water stockpile limits. Twice. And since the deal was signed, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has carried out ballistic missile testing on several occasions. This is an outright disregard of the United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding the development of weapons capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Trump has also called occasions when Iran provoked US forces in the Persian Gulf intolerable.
The measures that Trump will take with regards to Iran are unknown, but judging by the choices he made for his secretary of defense and his national security advisor, it would seem that he will keep his promises of being firm with Iran.
Another setback, or challenge, for the Iranian regime is the recent death of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. He died of cardiac arrest on Sunday. As well as serving as President, he was also at the top of the Assembly of Experts which selects the supreme leader.
The leader of the Iranian opposition, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, said that Rafsanjani was involved in some of the most violent and horrific crimes which include the assassination of exiled dissidents and terror attacks that caused large numbers of casualties.
The West portrayed him as a reformist, but this could not be further from the truth. He was in fact the leading policymaker for around three decades and gave a false perception of moderation to carry out international terrorism.
He worked with Rouhani since his election in 2013 and was heavily involved in working with the US to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, letting global leaders believe that change could be brought to the regime. Although the deal was agreed, the behaviour of the regime never changed.
The people of Iran are in a desperate situation. Since Rouhani has been in office there have been around 3,000 executions and the regime has cracked down heavily on women and young people, social and political activism and the arts and the press. The regime has gone as far as to crack down on people it deems to have a pro-Western attitude. Despite all this, the West still perceives the regime as moderate.
Rafsanjani has been a part of all this, and in the past he was involved in the 1988 massacre of in which around 30,000 political prisoners lost their lives. He also was involved in the Iran-Contra Affair which gave him a good reputation.
So Trump’s rise to power has challenged the “moderate” claim. The death of Rafsanjani takes a pillar of the regime away and a more firm and decisive policy is likely to become a reality with Trump as president. So as well as dealing with this, the Iranian regime will also have to deal with the tens of millions of unhappy Iranians who are more prepared than ever to fight for freedom.