Trump Administration’s stated policy towards the IR Regime in Iran is twofold; First, “behavior change” through the deployment of harsh sanctions and second, “regime change” by the Iranian people affected by the painful economic results of such sanctions. But, what are the chances of success for this strategy in the foreseeable future?

The harsh sanctions which have reduced the oil revenues and have cut off the IR Regime’s access to the international banking system will be effective in reducing the Regime’s financial assistance to its armed proxies in the region and will force the Regime to prioritize where it will spend its resources. A similar outcome happened when oil prices dropped significantly during Obama’s sanctions which forced the Regime to cut its aids to Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

In Syria where the Assad Regime is back in power and the Russians have the final word, we will most likely see a lower level of activities by the Regime. The same will probably be true in Lebanon where Hezbollah is fully integrated into the political system. However, the proxy war in Yemen against the Saudis will most likely intensify and the strategic look towards the control of Bab-el-Mandeb will heighten the military activities. Iraq will also continue to remain in the Regime’s orbit.

On the domestic front though, it is hard to see how the hard economic conditions will bring the urban middle class onto the streets and keep them there. If we look back at the past forty some years, the only times that the Iranians have come out in great numbers and protested have been during the good economic times or when there has been a perception of change for the better. One can cite the following examples; The street protests during the final days of the late Shah and the early days of Khomeini, the protests in the Khatami era when people were under the impression that the Regime was reformable, and the Green Movement of 2009 when a barrel of oil was over $100 and Mousavi and Karroubi were seen as the agents for change.

So how are the Iranian people, especially the women, the youth, and the urban middle class showing their disdain for the Regime?

Masih Alinejad and Sasy Mankan.   

Iranians are engaged in civil disobedience against the Regime in thousands by embracing Masih Alinejad’s “My Stealthy Freedom” and the “White Wednesdays” by removing their hejab in public and resisting the morality police. And they are willing to pay the price too. Also Sasy Mankan has managed to reach deep into the Iranian society from Southern California with his latest tune “Gentleman” and has given them the tools to defy the Regime.

Throughout the history, the Iranian people have hardly ever on their own revolted against their oppressors or occupiers, be it the Moghols, the Arabs or some king or sultan. Instead, they’ve rejected them by sticking to our culture, literature, hospitality, food, and song and dance!

آقامون جنتلمنه، جنتلمنه

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