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13 February, 2018

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest for ‘regime change’, documents reveal

At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. What role did the United States play?

Part 10 - More foreign interference means more brutal repression against activists

This approach, however, only aggravates tensions, encouraging Iran to crackdown brutally on domestic democracy activists and opposition groups on the pretext that they are funded by the United States. It also threatens to destabilize an already volatile region, and take us steps closer to a nuclear confrontation.

The US government still does not appear to have learned its lesson that democracy cannot be imposed from outside.

Action: The US sanctions and their counterproductive impact on Iran’s economy could be acknowledged and reviewed. This could further accompany a full House or Senate inquiry into the full dimensions of the US strategy toward Iran since the 1979 revolution to identify how the policy has worsened the situation.

In the absence of a significant US change of course, other countries can – with a view to safeguard against a rapid deterioration of international security – move to leverage their relationships with the US.

Action: US allies and partners in Europe and beyond could exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the US to pull back from its efforts to scupper the Iran nuclear deal, an arrangement which at least demonstrates the non-emergence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Iran, equally, has failed to grasp that its increasingly draconian efforts to crackdown on public opinion and legitimate anti-regime sentiment at home only fuels this dissent.

Action: Iran could review and roll back its domestic police state apparatus, address its appalling human rights record, and begin to restore accountability in the way it treats its citizens. By pro-actively attempting to salvage its claim to be a ‘republic’, the government could open the way for a more active and open engagement between opposition groups and the political establishment.

On the other hand, Iran has failed to understand and manage the impact of a convergence domestic economic, energy and environmental crises.

Action: The Iranian authorities could commission the UN, or another agency, to conduct a wide-scale independent review of how ongoing mismanagement has exacerbated the country’s water crisis, which on a business-as-usual trajectory, will lead to intensifying national crisis in coming years. The resulting recommendations could lead to a comprehensive re-organization of the country’s agricultural and industrial enterprises to create more sustainable water policies, as well as more effective climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

The irony of course is that, with the Trump regime pursuing its anti-Iran agenda in alliance with some of the region’s most undemocratic human rights abusers, the difference between the Trump and Iran regimes seem increasingly a matter of mere cosmetics.

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