By Shahriar Kia
During the past few weeks and following Iran’s January 29th ballistic missile test, tensions between Tehran and the West, and especially Washington, have escalated significantly.
Iran’s objective in the missile launch, a breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions and P5+1 agreements, was two-fold.
First, testing the West, and especially the United States, and evaluating possible reactions from the new Trump administration in the face of its saber-rattling.
Second, providing a morale-booster for Iranian regime’s officials, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Quds Force-affiliated Shiite militias who in recent weeks have witnessed a major policy shift by the new White House in response to Tehran’s provocative measures.
The Kayhan daily, the known mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shed light on the regime’s terrified status quo, describing the new Washington approach as a “historic turn.”
“There are times when developments take such an unprecedented pace, making any forecasting about the future quite difficult,” the piece reads.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi explained in a recent TV interview how Tehran’s foreign policy will face serious crises with Donald Trump coming to the White House.
However, it appears there is another party involved in this scenario that is extremely concerned over a Washington policy shift in regards to Tehran, and the Iranian regime’s lobbies are witnessing their previous access blocked to the new White House.
This front is attempting to use discredited sources, whose background and objectives are completely known to be in line with that of the mullahs’ dictatorship in Iran.
Their main goal is to depict an image of Iran lacking any legitimate opposition, and to this end, leave no option but to continue delivering concessions to Tehran, in order to maybe encourage the new U.S. administration to continue Obama’s engagement policy with Tehran.
Following the election of Donald Trump as the new President of the United States, and the introduction of his cabinet nominees, Iran apologists and lobbyists took to the media to raise baseless allegations against Iran’s democratic opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and place pressure on various Trump administration officials advocating a firm policy against the mullahs.
This main Iranian opposition group has presented a 10-point-plan for a democratic and free Iran, crafted by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, who enjoys strong bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress and amongst thousands of influential dignitaries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Rajavi has time and again emphasized the only real solution to establish peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond pivots on ending the Iran appeasement dogma and adopting a firm policy against Tehran’s mullahs by evicting the Iranian regime from the region, especially considering Iran’s involvement in Syria.
The allegations published in various media outlets against the MEK and the NCRI by those advocating rapprochement with Iran reveals their concern over Washington’s decision in adopting a new strong policy against Tehran.
23 former senior U.S. government officials signed a hand-delivered letter to President Trump emphasizing the real solution lies in bringing an end to the appeasement policy and stopping crises emanating from Tehran’s support for terrorism.
The letter reads in part:
“We underscore that a foreign military intervention is not the answer, and, therefore, believe the United States should recognize the aspirations of Iranian people for a free and democratic future as the only effective and viable policy.”
The bi-partisan letter urges the Trump administration “to establish a dialogue with Iran’s exiled resistance, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)”.
Attempting to maintain the mullahs’ dictatorship in tact in Tehran through discrediting the MEK and NCRI–known to first blow the whistle on Iran’s nuclear program and recently welcomed new U.S. sanctions on Iran–is considered trekking in line with Tehran’s dictators.
It appears the firm policy adopted by Washington, in response to Iran’s ballistic missile test and the mullahs’ threats and other ambitions, was a correct move and landed right on target.
Iran has recently called off another ballistic missile test scheduled for as recently as Friday, February 3rd. This goes in line with recent indications of senior Trump administration officials weighing the possibility of blacklisting the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.
As The New York Post rightly concluded, “It’s a sign that for Iran, the days of wine and roses — and blind-eye treatment — are over. And perhaps an even more welcome sign that tough talk, combined with tough action, really does work.”
Shahriar Kia is a political analyst and member of Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK). He graduated from North Texas University. He tweets at @shahriarkia