Trump must start helping Iran’s minorities achieve regime change

The United States’ re-imposition of sanctions on Iran prompted the Iranians to appeal to the International Criminal Court to block the re-imposition. President Donald Trump appears determined to take a hard-line stance against the Iranian regime. However, to effectively bring Iranian aggression across the globe to a halt, it would behoove President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I will deliver State of the Union 'when the shutdown is over' Former NYPD commander claims Trump got special treatment for gun licenses Colbert starts petition for Cardi B to give State of the Union rebuttal MORE to also invest in assisting Iran’s minorities in their quest to topple the mullahs’ government. After all, even if the ayatollahs are pushed into a corner, without a regime change their reign of terror will continue. And the best way to promote regime change is to empower Iran’s minorities to topple the Islamist government themselves.

According to Foreign Policy magazine, non-Persian ethnic minorities comprise 40 to 50 percent of Iran’s population. This doesn’t even include Iran’s religious minorities, whether Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian, Bahai, Sunni Muslim, etc. Each and every one of these minority groups has its own unique grievances against the Iranian regime and would gladly assist President Trump in any effort to implement a pro-democratic regime change. 

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Iran’s minorities have suffered much and are in desperate need of Trump’s assistance. For example, according to the Alliance for Rights of All Minorities in Iran (ARAM), Molawi Nasser Riggi Bahador Zehi, a Sunni Baloch cleric, was arrested by the Iranian regime after he collected signatures for a petition in support of over 40 Baloch girls who were raped in Iranshahr. The rapists are associated with the Iranian regime, which has impeded the investigation. Furthermore, six Ahwazi Arabs were recently arrested at a soccer match in Iran merely for chanting slogans about the Iranian regime’s oppression. Iranian Security forces raided the home of Evangelical Christian priest Yousef Nadarkhani, beating him and his children. He was then sentenced to imprisonment and exile. Other minority groups in Iran face similar repression and note the important role the U.S. must play in encouraging regime change.

Iranian Kurdish dissident Kajal Mohammadi welcomed Trump’s pulling out of the Iran deal, noting that the sanction relief had done nothing to help the Iranian people and the money the regime received was used to sponsor proxy wars and support terror across the globe. She expressed hope that the U.S. would step up its actions against the Iranian regime: “The Kurds believe that their voices and cries for freedom, democracy and the right to peaceful life should be heard by the international community and any future deal should take into account the fact that the people of the country are fed up with this regime and want change.”

Syrian Kurdish dissident Sherkoh Abbas agreed that pulling out of the nuclear deal is not sufficient, noting that Iran is now more emboldened today compared to several years ago because they have crushed several rebellions, succeeded in Syria and made a claim there, were successful in Iraq and stalled GCC activities in Yemen. Due to this reality, Abbas believes the West must make Iran implode from within by working with the Kurds, Baloch, Ahwazi Arabs and others within Iran, who seek regime change. 

Abbas called for pressure upon Iran on all fronts including “economic pressure, denying Iran technology, working with minorities, helping the reformers and democratic groups, promoting federalism in Iran, denying Iran access to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. A tweet and some media segments and photo-ops do not help. You have to engage and work with the people who can make a change. Many of the minorities are interested in getting real support in order to make a change. Just coming and saying that I am with you is not enough.”

Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton once stated that Iran will not negotiate away from its nuclear program and that sanctions will not bring to a halt Iran’s weapons infrastructure. Given this, it is time for the U.S. to empower Iran’s minorities to overthrow the Iranian regime from within and to help them build a democratic and federal Iran, which respects the right of Iran’s religious and ethnic minorities to live a dignified life.

Rachel Avraham is a contributing writer at the Haym Salomon Center and is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”