It looks like a civil revolution is taking place in Iran, where the people are rising up against the regime of the Mad Mullahs. The courage, the sheer bravery of the Iranian citizens is awe-inspiring. They face arrest, torture and death and yet are not giving up. It is clear that they have had enough of the 7th century rammed down their 21st century throats, and have finally gathered enough courage, likely bolstered by the support of Donald Trump – because the rest of the West is still too scared or too enamoured of Iranian oil to help – to revolt.
Despite the brutal crushing of any signs of rebellion, with 1,500 said to have been killed by the Iranian security forces, the Iranian people are not giving up.
HEROES: More than 1,500 of their compatriots were massacred in the past two months; regime shock troops are driving around shooting at protesters; and yet courageous Iranian men and women continue to march for their basic human rights and dignity. https://t.co/rwgBVa1HMg
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) January 13, 2020
The atmosphere heated up even more after the regime admitted shooting down the Ukrainian airliner with a missile “by mistake” last week.
Protesters gathered on Sunday for a second day of demonstration in Tehran despite heavy police presence. Protesters called for the ouster of senior government officials after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard admitted it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines passenger jet, killing all 176 on board.
President Trump has been tweeting support for the protesters.
To the leaders of Iran – DO NOT KILL YOUR PROTESTERS. Thousands have already been killed or imprisoned by you, and the World is watching. More importantly, the USA is watching. Turn your internet back on and let reporters roam free! Stop the killing of your great Iranian people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
The jetliner crashed early Wednesday in the hours after Iran launched missile attacks on two Iraqi military bases housing American troops. The attacks were a response to the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani days earlier.
On Saturday, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division said his unit accepts “full responsibility” for the crash on Monday. Iranian officials had earlier denied that it had shot down the jet.
Look at this video clip that was filmed during the protests:
"We don't want bombs and missiles, we don't want thieves in power"
Slogan in Tehran's Azadi square tonight https://t.co/0hsDHk9ePX
— Sina Zekavat (@SinaZekavat) January 12, 2020
It’s not only in Iran that citizens are objecting to the Mullah’s malign rule. In Beirut, Lebanon, too, protests have been taking place:
Beautiful scene in downtown #Beirut now. They are chanting “#revolution against fear” and expressing solidarity with protesters in #Iran #Iraq and paying tribute to #Syria’s revolution against #Assad #لبنان_ينتفض #لبنان_ينتفض #Lebanon #AssadOrWeBurnTheCountry pic.twitter.com/ll4JFvcBKb
— Sam Dagher (@samdagher) January 12, 2020
Besides these protests, there has been astonishing support for the west expressed by the courageous Iranian citizens:
WATCH: Iranian students refuse to walk over US and Israeli flags. pic.twitter.com/F88o0qq9pu
— StandWithUs (@StandWithUs) January 13, 2020
Iran’s only female Olympic medallist has defected in protest at the repressive Iranian regime:
Iran’s only female Olympic medallist, Kimia Alizadeh, says she has defected.
Alizadeh, 21, posted on social media that she had left Iran because she didn’t want to be part of “hypocrisy, lies, injustice and flattery”.
Alizadeh did not say where she was, amid reports that she has been training in the Netherlands. She made history for Iran in 2016 when she won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the Rio Olympics.
“I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they’ve been playing for years,” she wrote.
“I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. Every sentence they ordered I repeated. None of us matter for them, we are just tools.”
She added that although the government would exploit her sporting success politically, officials would humiliate her with comments such as: “It is not virtuous for a woman to stretch her legs.”
This is incredible bravery on her part. I hope Miss Alizadeh keeps safe and enjoys success in whichever country she finds refuge.
Iran’s top-rated chess champion has decided not to play for his country, Iranian news agencies reported on Tuesday, in an apparent reaction to Tehran’s informal ban on competing against Israeli players.
Alireza Firouzja, the world’s second-highest rated junior player, would be the second Iranian sports figure in recent months to try to renounce his citizenship over pressures on Iranian athletes to forego matches with Israeli competitors.
In October, Iran was banned indefinitely from international judo by the sport’s world body until it could guarantee that its athletes would be allowed to face Israelis. The move came after an Iranian judoka said he was pressured to drop out of bouts to avoid facing an Israeli athlete.
“Firouzja has made his decision and has told us that he wants to change his nationality,” the president of Iran’s Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh, told the semi-official news agency Tasnim.
“Firouzja is currently living in France … and may want to play under the French or US flag,” Pahlavanzadeh told the news agency ISNA.
The rumblings are being heard in the cultural sector too. Another extremely courageous Iranian woman is the Iranian state TV anchor who resigned while apologizing for the lies she spouted on behalf of the regime:
— Farnaz Fassihi (@farnazfassihi) January 13, 2020
I hope she too stays safe and out of the hands of the brutal benighted regime.
Just to get an idea of the numbers involved and the hypocrisy of the UN:
Unlike former President Barack Obama, who did nothing to help the nascent Iranian civilian revolution, preferring the nuclear deal to assisting the “Green Revolution“, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are secretly assisting the protestors:
The story begins in early 2017, with then-CIA director, Pompeo. Determined to escalate the CIA’s activities against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime, Pompeo unified Iran operations under a specific mission center and aggressively minded chief. What followed were successful U.S. operations to obstruct Iranian nuclear activities, contest the regime’s external activities, recruit Iranian officials (including senior officials), and identify those behind the repression of Iran’s population. The mission center’s activities now define Pompeo’s push to see the CIA accept greater operational risks. The current director, Gina Haspel, has continued in this vein.
One element involves assisting satellite streaming services in penetrating extensive Iranian censorship platforms. But a key focus is helping protesters to get their messages out. Iranian activists have shown courage and skill in rapidly getting videos out onto the internet during major crackdowns. But they face real challenges. So to give them a helping hand, sources tell me that the U.S. facilitates access to virtual private networks that allow internet connectivity outside of censor constraint. These VPNs transmit data through encrypted internet tunnels, protecting users from Iranian counterintelligence activities to detect and disrupt them.
But what happens when Iran’s government shuts down the nation’s internet service entirely, as during the November 2019 energy price protests?
Well, Iranian activists have to travel to Iran’s border areas to jump on foreign networks. But a new development, as one senior administration official tells me, is that the U.S. has enabled protesters to get their messages out even “when the internet is shutdown.” The official emphasized that while this effort is limited in scale, it is a positive work in progress.
The administration’s countering of Iranian oppression doesn’t begin and end with assistance to the protesters.
The U.S. intelligence community also provides secured communication platforms — revamped following disastrous security breaches — to allow its Iranian government sources to provide timely intelligence without compromising themselves. This allows U.S. officials to quickly learn the nature and human cost of Iranian security crackdowns. An important advantage in the context of the Iranian regime’s particular penchant for deception.
This highly advanced technological assistance is remarkable for its level of sophistication and for the risks involved. Huge kudos to the Trump administration for having the courage of their convictions and for standing up for what is moral and right.
What will happen next? It all depends on Iran’s next move. Will the mullahs relax their hold on power? Will they ease the religious restrictions on their citizens? And will they reign in their proxies all over the Middle East and beyond? It seems hardly likely.
Interesting times ahead.