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OPINION: Stronger Western Response Needed Against Iran’s Brutal Regime



via @Mojahedineng on Twitter

The United States, Britain, and the European Union have all duly condemned the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown of recent protests. But vague expressions of support are not enough in light of thousands of Iranian citizens risking their lives on a daily basis as part of a long-frustrated effort to secure their most basic rights.

Western powers issued similar messages of disapproval at the outset of crackdowns on prior nationwide uprisings, but at no point did those words prove capable of manufacturing shame in the hearts and minds of Iranian officials, and so mass arrests, killings, and torture went on unabated.

In November 2019 alone, Iranian authorities killed upwards of 1,500 people when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out mass shootings. Now, they are threatening more aggressive treatment not only of those participating in the current uprising but also those sharing videos and eyewitness accounts which the IRGC describes as “rumors” and “fake news”.

There is little doubt that the judiciary, headed by notorious human rights abuser Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, is prepared to follow suit. He was promoted into his position after serving as deputy to Ebrahim Raisi, before the latter was tapped by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to take over the presidency last year. This reshuffle of key positions led to a predictable upsurge in the regime’s familiar human rights violations, and the current uprising is a response to its effects. Ordinary Iranians are also tired of decades-long poverty, rampant inflation, structural corruption and the regime’s brutal oppression.

On September 16, Mahsa Amini, 22-year-old, was pronounced dead while in detention by the clerics’ “morality police”. She was accused of wearing her mandatory head covering too loosely, showing too much hair. Mahsa’s story is part of a broader revolting and despicable pattern of gender apartheid in Iran.

After Raisi’s directives for more suppression against women this summer, countless videos and personal accounts have circulated on social media depicting similar mistreatment of other women. In some cases, the targets of that harassment pushed back against it or even challenged the forced veiling laws themselves.

The latest protests indicate the expansion of anti-regime sentiment to virtually all of Iran’s communities and demographics. Prior uprisings have been notable for their inclusion of poor, rural Iranians who were once falsely viewed as strongholds of support for the theocratic dictatorship. Worsening economic conditions and growing awareness of government mismanagement has turned many of them strongly against the regime and has helped to reveal the regime’s true Achilles’ heel.

The regime’s stability is most threatened by its own population. Recent protests, led primarily by women and young generations, have expanded to close to 162 cities in all Iran’s 31 provinces in a matter of days. Women have suffered some of the worst oppression since the theocracy was established. Their leadership is natural.

They have also played a prominent role in pro-democracy activism, with one woman, Maryam Rajavi, even being designated as Iran’s prospective transitional president by the main democratic opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

In Congress, I had the privilege of supporting the democratic objectives of the Iranian Resistance for many years. Mrs. Rajavi’s Ten-Point Plan for the future of Iran, which calls for a secular, democratic and non-nuclear republic in Iran that respects human rights and gender equality, is a beacon of hope for the country.

What is more, the coalition’s Resistance Units have sprung up across the country, leading and organizing protests in order to ensure their persistence and expansion. The regime’s top leaders, as well as various senior and lower-ranking officials, constantly express worry and anxiety over the growing role of the MEK and its Resistance Units inside Iran. Risking detention, torture and even death, these brave Resistance Units infuse ever greater inspiration into the broader society for the overthrow of the misogynist regime.

The uprisings in Iran have mobilized women from all walks of life. This is a terrifying prospect for the regime. And as prior crackdowns on nationwide uprisings demonstrate, it is one against which they will deploy all manner of political violence if they are permitted to do so.

Iranian women and men will surely continue to challenge that permission, but the only thing that will conclusively deny it is a vigorous international response. For their part, consistent with our Declaration of Independence, and the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Western powers must recognize the rights of the Iranian people to rebel and defend themselves against the regime’s repression and lethal onslaught with all possible means at their disposal.   

America should remember the words of President John F Kennedy 60 years ago: “let every nation know, whether it wishes as well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of liberty.” The people of Iran are looking are fighting for LIBERTY.

Judge Ted Poe represented the Second district of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 to 2019 and is the former chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade in the House Foreign Affairs Committee

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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal



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In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.

Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.

Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.

Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.

Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.

Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.

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