by Armin Baldwin
The Iranian regime has been dealing with public discontent and popular unrest for many years. However, since the uprising that spread across the country at the end of December, the regime is clearly concerned about its future. This is evident through its reaction to the protests and anti-government demonstrations.
The regime has recognised that the people are very unhappy with their situation and that of the country. It knows that the people will not back down in their resistance and it understands that the end of the regime is near, yet it still continues to further suppress dissent.
There is an increasing amount of support for the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI) in Iran. This is the main opposition group that has worked for many years to bring freedom and democracy to Iran. It is a powerful force of opposition, especially now that it has extensive support in the country and even more outside, in particular some high profile and high-ranking officials and former officials from the United States and Europe.
In January, the Iranian government acknowledged that the MEK has played a large role in organising the protests.
The fact that the government is acknowledging the MEK’s role in the uprising is surprising in itself because for years the MEK has been belittled and dismissed as a threat. In reality though, it is one of the biggest threats to the regime. It is for this reason that the regime has targeted the opposition and carried out a huge number of assassinations.
The largest scale mass murder of the opposition happened in 1988 when, during the course of one summer alone, more than 30,000 dissidents were executed.
Failing to extinguish the opposition after the massacre, the regime opted to discredit it and to ensure that it could not influence Western politics. Even as recently as January this year, the Iranian government has tried to ban the MEK and get other countries to take a poor view of it. For example, Rouhani recently called on the French government to crack down on the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – the parent coalition that is based in the French capital.
The regime had even managed to get the MEK listed as a terrorist organisation and it took several years and court proceedings for the label to be revoked, so it does show that the regime can successfully spread misinformation.
However, the biggest blow to the regime in recent weeks is the appointment of United States President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser – John Bolton.
Bolton is a supporter of the Iranian Resistance and has pledged to do what he can to give the Iranian people the rights that they have been so cruelly denied for decades. He has participated in a number of events organised by the NCRI and he said last year that he hopes to be celebrating freedom in Iran by 2019.
Trump too put his support behind the people of Iran. The regime is more alone than ever.