By Jubin Katiraie
Every February, the Iranian regime hosts rallies to celebrate the date the mullahs took power in 1979 and to try and present themselves to the rest of the world as a stable regional power beloved by its people.
This is, of course, a lie and this February may just be the month that we see the regime crumble. Why? Well, increased international isolation and domestic unrest mean that the situation is far different than ever before.
Even the regime’s loyal forces, like the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), have distanced themselves from the regime and morale is at an all-time low. The regime has also lost its hold on Iraq, thanks to the Iraqi uprising, which means it lost control of its proxy forces.
Why is the regime so isolated?
There are many reasons, but it started with the US departure from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018 and the reimposing of secondary sanctions that essentially cut off the regime’s oil exports and other big sources of income for the regime.
In response, the regime began violating the JCPOA, which it was still a party to, and caused the European signatories to the deal to issue a joint statement, urging Tehran to end its “unacceptable behavior.”
The US continued to bring sanctions against the regime’s officials and Iran continued to break international rules, for example, the international standards against money laundering and terrorist financing, which resulted in the European countries refusing to help Iran evade US sanctions.
The European Parliament in December passed a resolution in support of the Iranian people’s protests and condemned the regime’s violent crackdown, with the US following suit in January.
Finally, last month, the Iranian regime announced it would not abide by the 2015 nuclear deal any longer. (Although, it could be argued that they never really did.) In response, the European countries decided to trigger the agreement's dispute resolution mechanism, which could mean the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran.
Why does the regime have little regional influence?
There are many reasons for this, but here are some of the biggest:
- The Iraqi uprising against Iranian interference in their country
- The blacklisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”, including its Qud’s force and all its commanders
- The expulsion and conviction of Iranian agents for spying in other countries, including Albania, the US, and Germany, under the cover of diplomatic work
- The assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and the head of the Iranian regime’s proxy forces in Iraq, Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis, in a US drone strike on January 3
What are the Mullahs afraid of?
The struggle in Iran is a struggle between the mullahs and the people’s resistance. The mullahs are terrified of being overthrown by the people, as this would prove once and for all that the mullahs are not beloved and have no legitimacy.
But that is what will happen, and global governments should support the Iranian people.