By Ali Safavi
From creation, each and every individual on this earth is given the birthright to be free.This is what America’s founding fathers put into words when drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776, that there are self-evident truths, with one being that every individual has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This was prompted by the benevolence of men who drafted that document or the philosophers of the Enlightenment but as an endowment from our creator, God Almighty.
Those fighting the American Revolution, while facing difficult odds and a fight that no one believed they could win, were fighting for their freedom. This was also the case for the French Revolution in the 19th century, the epic resistance against Nazism and fascism during the 20th century, and the people who fought against any other tyranny. All those nations prevailed in their fight against dictatorship, fascism, and totalitarianism, as has been the case in history, and as will be until freedom reigns in our world.
We are witnessing similar circumstances in the nationwide uprising that is entering its third month. While Iran has seen numerous uprisings against the mullahs’ regime in the past 43 years, never have the people remained so steadfast and consistent and for so long. The Iranian people themselves are calling this movement a “revolution.”
As the ruling regime becomes increasingly paranoid about the very real threat challenging its existence to the core, its media/lobbying apparatus both inside Iran, abroad, and onsocial media have been busy demonizing the protesters as “foreign elements”,“seditionists”, “separatists,” and “terrorists.” This campaign follows several goals:
- Pushing the sense of despair among the protesters inside Iran;
- Warning foreign governments to think twice about even voicing political support for the Iranian people and protesters in the streets; and
- Justifying further crackdown to crush the revolution.
According to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), to this day, the mullahs’ regime has killed more than 550 civilians in protests across the country, including more than 50 children. The overwhelming majority have been shot with live ammunition, while others have died as the result of blows to the head or torture while in captivity.
While the regime is resorting to sheer brutality against protesters—whether in the streets or in its prisons—there are certain figures with loud voices online and on other platforms that continue to raise “concerns” about the Iranian revolution “going violent.” They hide behind the pretext that people resorting to arms in the face of the regime’s security forces opening fire will only encourage the mullahs to increase the bloodshed. Knowingly or unknowingly, this is trampling on the rights of the Iranian people to be free.
Revolutions elsewhere were made possible when ordinary people practiced their God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are times in history when ruling dictatorships leave nations no choice but to bear arms first to defend themselves against the regime’s treachery and then topple the ruling dictatorship to pave the path for establishing freedom and democracy. The words of the great American Stateman Thomas Jefferson in the “Declaration on Taking up Arms” in 1775 are quite apt: “Against violence actually offered, in defense of that freedom which is our birthright, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities have ceased on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed have been removed, and not before.”
And since the regime in Tehran has proven time and again that it will not change from within, the international community must recognize the right of the Iranian people to defend themselves against the brutality of the regime and to secure their freedom. Denying the Iranian people the right to resist tyranny justifies further resorting to more violence on the part of the regime.
This will come from the resistance fighters inside Iran, so many of whom who have paid the ultimate price, and many others who are courageously following their path. And when the Iranian people’s expanding resistance movement evolves into a nationwide rebellion, the world, particularly the West, should stand with them for the cause of freedom in Iran and peace and security in the region.
What does this mean? Are we talking about providing financial assistance, arms and ammunition, and boots on the ground? Quite the contrary.
- Toughen sanctions on the regime. As Nelson Mandela called on the international community to maintain its sanctions on the apartheid regime of South Africa, the world must now strengthen its sanctions and actually impose them on the mullahs’ regime in Iran. Any dollar or euro entering Iran will only benefit the mullahs’ regime, and not a dime will go to the people.
- Provide political support by recognizing the Iranian people’s right to self-defense and thus toppling the mullahs’ regime.
- Deliver 24/7 uninterrupted internet access for the Iranian people to both have access to information from across the globe and allow activists to provide the world news and footage about the truth from inside Iran, not what the regime’s state media is currently feeding them.
- Dismantle Tehran’s lobby arms/groups and front organizations
- Cut all diplomatic ties with the regime as it has lost its last vestiges of legitimacy, especially as its MPs explicitly called for the execution of protesters
We have reached a point where the international community can truly conclude that every possible path has trekked during the past four decades of unprecedented appeasement vis-à-vis this criminal regime that is holding the people, history, and culture of Iran hostage. All measures have been exhausted, and Tehran’s rulers have not only wasted numerous opportunities by the West but responded with nothing but further belligerence.
The fanatical, aggressive, oppressive, tyrannical, terrorist-supporting, corrupt regime in Iran is the enemy of not only the Iranian people but the free world. The Iranian people have risen to bring this regime to an end, and the time is now. Anyone questioning the Iranian people’s right to self-defense by bearing arms should also publicly make a statement that the American revolutionaries had no right to rise for their independence, nor should Europe have fought against Hitler and the Third Reich.
The increasing and amazing bravery and protests from the Iranian people provide the world with the hope that that day is coming. Probably even sooner than we think. Did anyone ever expect the Berlin Wall to crumble?
The international community should play its part by ending the miserably failed appeasement policy with those sitting on the throne in Tehran. The Iranian people will take care of the rest by hammering the final nail in this regime’s coffin.
Ali Safavi is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). This article was published by PMOI/MEK