Is Biden going to hinder the hijab revolution? - opinion

The only thing “very clear” is that America intends to bolster the regime in Tehran at the expense of the Iranian people.

Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden reacts during a televised townhall on CNN dedicated to LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, California, US October 10, 2019.  (photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE)
Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden reacts during a televised townhall on CNN dedicated to LGBTQ issues in Los Angeles, California, US October 10, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE)

It’s been two weeks since Iran’s morality police beat to death 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for the crime of not having her head covered properly. The one good thing that’s come of her senseless murder at the hands of the uniformed goons who pounced on her while she was touring Tehran with her family is the response of the public.

Throngs of Iranians from every walk of life have taken to the streets to demand “death to the dictator.” Females of all ages, throwing off their mullah-imposed hijabs, are marching alongside members of the opposite sex who have joined them in their protest. The uprising isn’t merely about the right for girls to let their hair out, of course.

More importantly, it’s an expression of frustration with and rage at the regime that has held the Iranian people in its radical grip since the rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 and the establishment of the Islamic Republic. Nor is it the first time in the past two decades that Iranians have risked their lives in an attempt to wrest themselves from the chains of their leaders’ corruption and repression.

The genuine bravery that this requires of average citizens – painfully aware of the dire consequences of confronting vicious members of the Basij paramilitary militias and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – ought to be a source of shame to Western liberals. These are the Americans and Europeans who use the word “courageous” to describe movie stars who reveal how their careers were damaged by influential sexual predators.

They’re the same privileged people who talk about “oppression” without knowing its true meaning – the very camp that championed the election of former US president Barack Obama, not only due to the color of his skin but for his utter rejection of American exceptionalism and greatness.

People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'', in Tehran, Iran, September 21, 2022. (credit: WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'', in Tehran, Iran, September 21, 2022. (credit: WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

PART OF his policy of “leading from behind” was outreach to the radical-Muslim world and abandonment of modernizers. One of his first steps in this direction was to ignore the Iranians decrying the phony reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

Rather than “interfere” in the political workings of a separate sovereign nation, he pushed for a nuclear deal with its evil rulers. The upshot was anything but a halt to Iran’s pernicious activities.

Instead, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – sealed in 2015 between the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany – and the Islamic Republic infused billions of dollars into the latter’s program of ballistic-missile development, centrifuge-spinning and uranium enrichment. Contrary to the regime’s claims, none of this was for “peaceful purposes.” 

And Iran never abided by the terms of the JCPOA. As if any proof were needed that this was so, it emerged less than three years later, when the Mossad stole a massive trove of relevant documents from a warehouse in Tehran.

After Israel’s prime minister at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu, showed the material to the White House, then-US president Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign of crippling sanctions on Iran. As soon as Joe Biden set up shop in the Oval Office in the beginning of 2021, however, the administration in Washington was back to the business of begging the ayatollahs to accept an agreement with the P5+1.

MUCH TO Biden’s dismay, they haven’t been jumping at the opportunity to receive tranches of cash. They’ve been too busy playing hard to get as a ploy to up their ante. Despite the nauseating display of little despots showing Uncle Sam who’s the boss, even the State Department admits sheepishly that the ball is in Iran’s court.

Naturally. Let’s not forget that Team Biden is literally and figuratively an Obama-crew clone.

Ironically, the threat to Tehran’s bargaining power is coming not from Foggy Bottom or the halls of Congress, but from the Iranian people themselves. And though the circle is widening, with artists, actors and athletes joining the fray unapologetically, it’s costing them all dearly.

Indeed, dozens of protesters have been gunned down by security forces, and hundreds of others – among them journalists – have been arrested. One shudders to imagine the atrocities to which they are being subjected behind prison walls.

Mideast analysts are not optimistic that the current unrest, as widespread as it is, will bring about an end to the regime. One reason cited is the willingness of Ebrahim Raisi’s government to use any means necessary, no matter how brutal, to quell the riots.

Nevertheless, the determination of the demonstrators isn’t waning. They deserve both credit for this and all the support they can get.

Biden's obsession with returning to the Iran deal

WHICH BRINGS us back to the Biden administration’s obsession with a return to the farcical JCPOA or, worse, with an updated version that’s even more precarious. While Iranians are fighting for their freedom from tyranny and Islamism, the entity that the ayatollahs call the “Great Satan” refuses to shift course.

In his briefing to reporters on Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price stammered his way through tough questions on just this issue. Challenged by AP’s Matt Lee whether, under the circumstances, he sees “any urgency to change [US] policy towards Iran,” Price was confused.

“Our policy when it comes to the protests that are ongoing inside Iran?” he asked. When Lee answered that he was referring also to the nuclear track, Price said that “these are, of course, separate issues.”

Lee pointed out wryly that this might not be the case where the Iranian people are concerned. He then proceeded to grill Price on the money that the regime stands to receive.

“[I]f you go ahead and get a deal, you’re going to be giving, or Iran is going to be getting, hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars, in both sanctions-relief [and] oil revenue. It’s not like they’re going to be using that money to plant flowers around downtown Tehran. Some of that money is going to go to further repress the Iranian people… Are you okay with giving them that massive amount of sanctions relief and allowing them to sell their oil on the open market when you know that some of that money is going to be used to commit human-rights abuses?”

Price responded by regurgitating his usual talking points.

“If there is a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, it would remove what would be the most dangerous elements of an Iranian regime for perpetuity,” he said, growing increasingly exasperated with Lee’s relentless and very specific interrogation.

Alex Raufoglu of the Turan news agency ultimately piped in.

“I think what we are trying to figure out here,” he clarified, “is that when you speak to any Iranian activist[s], they will tell you, ‘Hey, each time we go out to streets to challenge our leadership, the US supports us, but then turns behind our back and starts talking to the very regime [whose] legitimacy we question.’ So… you can’t have both, when Iranian people are out there and trying to overthrow the regime.”

PRICE’S CONVOLUTED reply illustrates why it’s not only Iranians who can’t and shouldn’t trust the current US administration.

“Well, to be very clear,” he said, “the protests that we’re seeing aren’t about the United States. They’re… about the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people to exercise peacefully the rights that are as much theirs as they are anywhere else. We think all people’s basic rights should be respected. We think that all people should be able to peacefully protest when their basic and universal rights are violated... We are helping people around the world, including in Iran, access personal telecommunications technology. This, of course, is not a regime-change policy. If any government, including the government in Iran, thinks that this is or amounts to a regime-change policy, it poses some pretty difficult questions to them about the nature of their regime and why they would fear their own people.”

The only thing “very clear” about these incoherent, universalistic words is that America intends to bolster the regime in Tehran at the expense of the Iranian people. In light of this travesty, the rest of us need to hope that they beat the odds, and pray that Biden and his gang are next in line for replacement.