The way to stop Iran is to brand it as evil in Tehran - opinion

The way to reverse the danger posed by Iran is a frontal informational assault on Tehran as the center of a truly evil empire

 A MURAL depicting Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini looms over a Tehran street.  (photo credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
A MURAL depicting Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini looms over a Tehran street.

Many are asking what can be done to reverse the Iranian lurch toward nuclear weapons. One fundamental measure would be to further delegitimize that evil entity. This should be done through a frontal informational assault on Tehran as the center of a truly evil empire, especially now given the Western stampede to renew the dangerous nuclear agreement almost at any cost.

At a gathering in Jerusalem with then-MK Tzipi Hotovely, currently Israel’s ambassador to the UK, I proposed going on the informational offensive against ayatollah Iran as an evil Persian empire oppressing its own huge ethnic minorities, half the total population. In other words, not just Iran today as a terrorist Shia religious state, but also as an evil empire.

Indeed, ethnic Persians constitute only half of Iran’s population. Azaris, Kurds and Arabs alone make up at least a third of that population, with smaller minorities rounding out the picture. One cannot know the true size of each oppressed minority because of the likelihood that Tehran falsifies its population statistics. And yet, the Persian ethnic population of Iran is similar to that of the Russian ethnic component in the former Soviet Union.

Amnesty International wrote last year: “Ethnic minorities, including Ahvazi Arabs, Azeris, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen face entrenched discrimination, curtailing their access to education, employment, adequate housing and political office. Continued under-investment in minority-populated regions exacerbates poverty and marginalization. Despite repeated calls for linguistic diversity, Persian remained the sole language of instruction in primary and secondary education.

“The authorities criminalized peaceful advocacy of separatism or federalism and accused minority rights activists of threatening Iran’s territorial integrity. Ahvazi Arabs reported that the authorities restricted expressions of Arab culture, including dress and poetry.”

 Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building in Vienna (credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO) Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building in Vienna (credit: REUTERS/LISI NIESNER/FILE PHOTO)

This situation is compounded by the oppression of women and religious minorities. In a phrase, the ayatollah totalitarian entity would not survive if its minorities were given their human rights. Renewal of the evil-inducing nuclear pact with power-drunk Tehran would only solidify its oppressive rule with its blatant human rights violations. We hear nothing about this from the Biden administration, which cloaks itself in the mantel of human rights advocacy. As a retired US Foreign Service Officer, I can assure one and all of the watchword in Foggy Bottom that to do so would not be “useful.”

Internal opposition among ethnic Persians has been demoralized by Western validation of the Iranian regime through the Vienna nuclear pact. They are thus a less critical element in any further dealings with Tehran.

Hotovely’s well-meaning reaction to my proposal was to say, “Isn’t the government already saying everything possible against that evil regime?”

And the answer is: No, it is not. Iran is not branded as a specifically evil empire.

Some may argue that such a policy would lose the support of Persian people themselves, as it would challenge Persian rule over all of Iran, at least as a unitary state. But that rule is almost by definition oppressive, depriving also the great Persian people itself of the benefits of democracy and human rights. This was the case with the Soviet Union, in which the great Russian people, also only half the state’s population, suffered under the yoke of its own internal Soviet imperialism. Today they are all free.

Communism was the glue that sought to keep the Soviet dictatorial state together. Restoration of the past glories of Persian imperial rule over large territories was presented as the justification for the Shah’s dictatorship. So today, the Persian ayatollahs have substituted Islamic Shia extremism to justify their rule.

For a frontal informational assault on ayatollah rule, it would be necessary for the West to go on the offensive against the illegitimate Iranian entity itself, at least until Tehran realizes that it is risking everything including the dismantlement of its empire.

An expansive informational attack would yank at the very gut of the regime beyond Tehran’s use of proxies for imperial outreach abroad. In fact, as with the Soviet Union in its day, the ayatollahs’ external aggression is a direct derivative of their illegitimate imperium of terror within their own borders.

The current Iranian propaganda attacks on Israel would pale appreciably when compared with the kind of offensive that the West could mount to delegitimize Tehran. It should not be too difficult to persuade many of the human rights dupes of the antisemitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) ringleaders to shift their focus to the most grievous Persian violations of human rights and human lives. The ayatollahs are smiling over the piles of dead Sunni Arabs and hordes of Arab refugees in Iraq and Syria produced by their deliberate policy of ethno-religious cleansing.

There is a shining historical precedent applicable to the imperial ayatollahs today. On March 8, 1983, US president Ronald Reagan stunned politically correct thinking when he attacked the USSR as an “evil empire.”

A paraphrase of those words thunder when applied to Iran today:

“The Persian ayatollahs preach the omnipotence of their totalitarian religion over the individual and predict their eventual domination of all peoples. They are the focus of evil in the modern world. Beware the temptation to label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, and to remove yourself from the struggle between good and evil.”

With this one speech, Reagan undermined the very legitimacy of the Soviet state. He flew in the face of conventional ‘Convergence’ wisdom at the time, i.e. that the Soviets would somehow moderate and become more capitalist, while America would become more socialist and statist, with both meeting in the middle to kiss and make up. This is the essence of the liberals’ philosophy today with regard to Iran.

The end result was the exact opposite, with the USSR collapsing as a result of its own internal anti-democratic and economic contradictions. And so it can be today with ayatollah Iran, despite the heavy boot of its Revolutionary Guards.

The West should have learned that the nuclear agreement with the new evil empire has only increased Tehran’s appetite for imperial subversion and expansion. Iran is now moving full speed to develop its nuclear weapons capability and its international ballistic delivery systems. Renewal of the agreement and removal of sanctions, rather than their increase, will again fill its coffers to better oil its worldwide terrorist machine.

Let’s be very clear to ourselves and to others that when Tehran is ready, it will hang the West in each of the agreement’s loopholes in preparation for its complete violation to achieve a nuclear weapons breakout. By delaying its return to negotiations, it may be preparing to lay a nuclear device on the negotiating table as Exhibit A – A as in atom. At that point, the only thing that will “snap back” will not be the promised sanctions but the West’s whip-lashed neck.

The proposed informational offensive against the evil Iranian empire in the realm of ideas is, therefore, particularly imperative for America and the world today. President Biden should deliver his own “evil empire” speech to show that he is really serious about human rights and stopping Tehran. And if not, the US Congress should act in his stead. It is high time that America tongue-lash its enemies with the human rights whip, not its friends.

The writer is an American-born retired US Foreign Service Officer living in Jerusalem, who served 13 years in Arab and other Moslem countries. He is also the founder of the non-sectarian Jewish Covenant Alliance, advancing a Jewish service mission to the nations in the struggle against the evils of regimes worldwide. Website: in 14 languages.