The U.N. Security Council just passed sanctions on Iran, supposedly aimed at the government and Revolutionary Guards, because of Iran’s so-called intransigence on its nuclear program.
Aside from the fact that these sanctions are diluted to the point of impotence in order to get Security Council members, China and Russia, on board, they most likely will have a long term slight-to-moderate negative impact on both getting Iran to bend on the nuclear issue and, more importantly, helping Iranian civil society reach a percolation threshold with respect to democracy, basic freedoms, and human rights.
The sanctions lend an air of legitimacy to the regime’s claim that nefarious outside forces, or Doshman (the all encompassing enemy), as Khamenei likes to refer to them, have it in for Iran; thereby giving the hardcore Islamist radicals of the regime a pretext and excuse for continued harsh repression of the opposition.
From a timing perspective fore Iranians, these sanctions cannot have come at a worse time–just a few days before the anniversary of the rigged presidential election of last year. The opposition green movement is planning to hold protest rallies though out the major cities in Iran. The political situation in Iran, despite appearances to the occasional observer who may think that the regime has successfully crushed dissent, is far from stable. The regime has committed a number of blunders which have left them exposed to heavy criticism, both from the opposition and from within their own ranks. Just last Friday, during a Friday Prayer sermon and commemoration of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, at the mausoleum dedicated to him, regime goons heckled the grandson of the late Ayatollah, drawing scorn from within their own ranks and alienating the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad cabal even further from the population.
With the opposition poised to show that it is still alive, active, and strong a few days from now, the passing of sanctions is like a slap in the face of the freedom seekers of Iran.
So the international community just basically turned its back to the people of Iran. Despite the tepid lip service that they give from time to time in support of the Iranian people’s struggle against the barbaric and fascist (yes fascist) regime, their actions speak much louder than their words.
For the people of Iran, this will not be a surprise. They have endured 30 years of marginalization by the regime while the world turned a blind eye in the interest of so-called international pragmatism (more like international sociopathy). They are used to it.
And since the regime has been butchering them for the past year because they had the audacity to express their hope for change (reference to a phrase made popular by a certain president fully intended…) the game won’t change for them too much in the long term. The regime’s reliance on force as the sole mechanism by which they keep the populace in check renders that tool less effective in the long run. Think of it this way, if they are already willing to beat the elderly and children in the streets; if they are already willing to arrest them arbitrarily, throw them into decrepit prison cells, torture, abuse and rape them; if they are willing to shoot people in cold blood for simply being beautiful and for wanting to express their voice, their Neda; if they are willing to kill and maim and piss on all that is good and just and priceless; well, then they’re going to continue to do that anyway! Some I’ll-conceived sanctions made for the stroking of the egos of certain world leaders and nations won’t make a difference.
This is the reality of Iran–sad but not new. So there’s no point shedding tears over it because the Iranian people have work to do, and they know what it is. They can either let the regime and the world cease to acknowledge their existence, and disappear into the black hole of solitude that ignorant bearded men wish to impose upon them, or they can continue to walk the difficult path of hope they have already started to trek upon. The are left with only one real choice.
The regime knows that the red herring of ‘the enemy’ isn’t convincing anyone, but they will use it as a convenient crutch.
In just a few days, Iranians will once again show the world not only that they exist, but that nothing can stop them from getting their rights, their freedom, and their dignity.
Some world leaders and some media may turn a blind eye, but if the author has learned one thing in this last year of observing the struggles of the Iranian people, it is that this does not matter. Some people will see, and some people will listen. But, more importantly, knowing that this is a struggle that belongs to them, and knowing they cannot seek solace from anywhere else but within themselves, provides a singular clarity of cause that will ultimately lead to the manifestation of their will–sanctions and violent, radical government be damned.