Thursday, August 9, 2018
For those who might remember the last U.S. administration and the last U.S. president, you might also remember how he reacted when the Iranian government cracked down on its people in 2009, when blood literally ran in the streets: Barack Obama promised to "sharpen" his language against the regime.
Fat lot of good it did.
The current occupant of the Oval Office--while not as cool and collected or as seemingly disinterested as his predecessor--is more realistic when it comes to the dangers posed by the Iranian government/regime/criminal gang. Donald Trump re-imposed stiff economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic this week, to the dismay of respectables in this country and out. Three months ago, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord that supposedly limited Iran's nuclear program, too.
President Trump declared the 2015 agreement "a horrible, one-sided deal" that "threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence and chaos."
Some of us will oppose the current regime in Iran as long as we can remember the name Neda Agha Soltan. She was a beautiful young Iranian, all of 26 years old when she was slaughtered by the regime. During the 2009 protests, the college student was shot down for daring to join demonstrations. She took a bullet through the chest.
She was one of the millions of protesters who dared to meddle in her own country's affairs, protesting how the votes were tallied in Iran's presidential election that year. Or not tallied. The protesters might have thought there was something wrong with a government's declaring itself re-elected before the votes were counted. Also, some dispatches say that turnout exceeded 100 percent in some Iranian cities. Who says the election was stolen? More than 100 percent of the people voted in a couple dozen cities! Now that's a robust democracy.
But Neda Soltan and millions of others didn't see it that way. So they took to the streets. Reports say Miss Neda was no hard-core activist. Just upset at the election results. She, like many others, died for her actions.
It was a familiar feeling watching that young lady die over and again on the Internet. But even if it was a modern death, it had a historic feeling to it. Sort of like Budapest, 1956. Or Tiananmen Square, 1989. Nations were told to choose: Whose side are you on? Does any government worthy of the name need to shoot college students? Ask the Nixon administration. ("Gotta get down to it, soldiers are cutting us down. Should've been gone long ago. What if you knew her, and saw her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?") And our betters in this country, supposedly a beacon of freedom to the world, talked of sharpening their language.
It's said this administration, however, is putting the squeeze on Iran's government. The sanctions will affect money transactions that involve dollars, the automobile sector, and the purchase of planes and metals. A second batch of sanctions would target the big one: oil. The sooner the better.
Word around the campfire is that Iran's economy is already teetering and the country's people have taken to the streets again, just as in 2009. The currency has tanked. The black market has flourished. And maybe one day it will all be enough to send this regime packing. The world, and the Iranian people, will be better off.
But that didn't prevent some whining. This is the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, on the newly revealed sanctions:
"The Americans thought that they can add to our social and economic problems through increasing pressure."
By jove, we think he's got it. And this country should keep increasing the pressure until young Neda Agha Soltan, and all who went before and after her in the quest for freedom, get their justice.
Editorial on 08/09/2018
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