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A terrorist state developing nuclear weapons, abetted by the West

March 2, 2023

The Rise of the Ayatollahs

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran was a modernizing secular state in which many women attended university and experienced wide freedoms. The Iranian monarchy was a declining institution with many flaws. It was replaced by a far more regressive totalitarian state.

The Ayatollah Khomenei's revolutionary coalition "included secular liberals, nationalists, communists and Islamist-Marxists."[1]  Khomenei's religious extremists had engaged in mass murder, in one instance burning 480 people alive in a cinema in Abadan to protest westernization. Notwithstanding the well-documented violence and oppressiveness of Khomenei's movement, Western leftists widely celebrated Khomenei as a savior figure.  The Blair Institute for Global Change noted:

"A New York Times piece entitled 'Trusting Khomeini', published two days after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, perhaps best captures the left’s celebration of the collapse of the shah. The author, Richard Falk, who later became United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, wrote of how the ayatollah could provide 'a desperately‐needed model of humane governance for a third‐world country'. Indeed, at the time there were American officials who argued that Khomeini was the 'Gandhi' of Iran."

A Totalitarian State

With the likely exception of Russia, Iran become the world's leading sponsor of terrorism as well as one of the most internally oppressive states. Protests by pro-democracy Iranians against the regime's oppression have been largely ignored by the U.S. and European Union.  Former U.S. President Barack Obama belatedly acknowledged his error in failing to support Iranian protests in 2009,[2] even while failing to accept accountability for his catastrophic decision to allow Iran to enrich uranium.

Protestors have been arrested, with many held in indefinite detention and others summarily executed. An Iranian official bragged about the progress of women in Iran while supporting the death penalty for the women-led protests in 2022.[3]  Following Iran's brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests in 2022, Amnesty International regional director Heba Morayef stated:

"The Iranian authorities' reckless and unlawful use of firearms against protesters, including live ammunition, reveals yet again the tragically high cost of international inaction. All member states of the UN Human Rights Council must take decisive action now and immediately convene a special session on Iran in order to prevent further loss of life. Failure to act decisively will only embolden the Iranian authorities to further crackdown against mourners and protesters."[4]

Over 2,000 academics from across the United States including ten Nobel Laureates wrote to Biden in November 2022 to call for “urgent attention to a dire situation in Iranian universities," ending negotiations, continuing sanctions "until all violators of human rights in Iran are held accountable" and demanding "further tangible actions."[5]

Nonetheless, U.S. President Joe Biden stated "that we stand with the citizens, the brave women of Iran"[6] while failing to offer any tangible support. The European Union continued its "business first" approach to Iran. Germany and other countries increased their business with the regime despite worsening oppression.[7] Harvard International Review board member Majid Rafizadeh observed:

"By prioritizing its business and trade with Iran over promoting human rights and countering terrorism, the EU is emboldening and empowering the expansionist regime of Iran to suppress and kill more of its citizens, stamp out the women-led revolution for freedom, supply Russia with more weapons, and sponsor more terrorist groups worldwide."

A Terrorist State Developing Nuclear Weapons

The organization "United Against Nuclear Iran" observed that the nuclear deal enacted by the Obama administration was deeply flawed and harmful to regional and world security:

"1. The deal fails to guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program—rather, it gives Iran a clear pathway to nuclear weapons.

2. Iran accepts temporary nuclear restrictions in exchange for front-loaded, permanent benefits.

3. The deal emboldens and enriches an extremist anti-American terror state, thereby furthering Iran’s expansionist and destabilizing activities."[8]

Bizarrely, the Obama-Biden Administration agreed to allow Iran, a known terrorist state, to enrich uranium, whereas democratic allies including South Korea have been forbidden to do so under nuclear nonproliferation.

The Biden administration has attempted to resurrect a worse version of the failed Iran deal,[9] offering hollow assurances that "we will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon"[10] while ignoring that the policies US administrations have supported make this development inevitable.

Iran's Terror Spree

Unsurprisingly, the release of billions of dollars of revenue to Iran as part of the nuclear deal was followed by a terror spree across the Near East and worldwide.[11]  A 2021 report by British defense researchers noted a "worst case scenario" of Iran "deepening its ties with the Russia/China alliance" and continuing to develop nuclear weapons.[12] This worst case continues to materialize.  Iran has deepened military cooperation with Russia, providing drones used by Russia to commit atrocities in Ukraine in violation of sanctions on both countries.[13]

Delusions of the West

The Blair Institute noted that the Iranian regime's extreme ideological positions which equate submission to the Ayatollah with obedience to God are far more repressive than those of the Pahlavi dynasty it supplanted.  Yet ongoing Western delusions continue to cloud sober judgment:

"These extraordinary ideological positions are largely ignored in the West by those who are determined to see the good in Iranian political life or, in the worst case, fantasize about Iran as the post-colonial (or postmodern) revolutionary state par excellence, whose consistent opposition to the United States excuses a variety of incongruous behaviour. Indeed, Iran’s ability to position itself as a victim of Western perfidy has allowed it considerable political latitude, as witnessed during the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme. The failure of the administration of former US President Barack Obama and the new European External Action Service (EEAS) to properly read Iranian intentions, and their persistence in viewing Iranian political developments through the prism of Iran’s relations with the West, severely constrained the Western negotiating position. What is more, the desire for negotiations to work has muddied the sight and thinking of Western policymakers."[1](emphasis added)

Iranian democracy advocate Mariam Memarsadeghi wrote that the West continues to enable Iran's terror campaign:

"The Biden administration and the UK government are openly committed to diplomacy with the regime despite their rhetoric and sanctions concerning its human rights abuses. The result is a bizarre cycle in which Western governments incentivize murder plots on their own soil by ignoring them—because to do otherwise would contradict the false premises of 'moderation' upon which negotiations like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) [the Iran nuclear deal] are based. The British Foreign Office has impeded plans to list the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity in order to keep open communication with the regime. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has in fact linked the regime’s brutality at home to the necessity of entering another agreement, a move seen by many human rights activists as cynical justification for a policy of appeasement. In continuing to court Tehran, the Biden administration is not just betraying the Iranian struggle for a democratic future and endangering lives of rights activists, even on US soil."[14]


[1] "Ideology and Iran’s Revolution: How 1979 Changed the World." Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, February 11, 2019.

[2] "Obama Admits Mistake of Not Supporting Iran Protests in 2009."  Iran International, October 15, 2022.

[3] Skinner, Anna. "Iranian Official Brags About Women's Rights After Supporting Executions." Newsweek, November 16, 2022.

[4] "Iran: UN must act urgently after authorities unlawfully kill eight protesters in less than 24 hours." Amnesty International, October 27, 2022.

[5] Marquardt, Alex.  "Prominent US academics urge Biden to do more to help anti-government protesters in Iran." CNN, November 2, 2022.

[6] "Iran protests: Joe Biden says US stands with ‘brave women’ after Mahsa Amini death." The Guardian (UK), October 14, 2022.

[7] "EU's Double-Standards on Iran's Human Rights: Business First." Independent News Service, January 25, 2023.

[8] "The Iran Nuclear Deal: What's Wrong With It and What Do We Do Now?" United Against Nuclear Iran. Undated article, accessed March 2, 2023.

[9] Desiderio, Andrew. "Congress fires its first warning shot on Biden’s Iran deal." Politico, May 5, 2022.

[10] "US and Israel vow never to let Iran get nuclear weapons." Euronews, July 14, 2022.

[11] Rose, David. "Iran terror spree exposed in MP’s chilling warning against new deal." The Jewish Chronicle, February 11, 2022.

[12] Clark, Robert and Luke Rawlings. "Countering Iran in the Arabian Gulf." Henry Jackson Society, 2021.

[13] Nissenbaum, Dion and Warren P. Strobel. "Moscow, Tehran Advance Plans for Iranian-Designed Drone Facility in Russia." Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2023.

[14] Memarsadeghi, Mariam. "The West encourages Iran’s regime to rape, kidnap and kill." Al Arabiya News, February 7, 2023.

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