September 29, 2022

Iran Is Roiling with Protests, Nuclear Talks Are Stalled — Biden Must Raise the Stakes

Iranian society exists under high pressure and perennially explodes, as it has the past two weeks with thousands of people taking to the streets, seething, following the killing of a Kurdish-Iranian woman in police custody. Mahsa Amini — or Jina Amini, had her Kurdish name not been violently suppressed by a regime so insecure that it has sought to erase the identity of 10 percent of its population — ran afoul of the morality police for insufficiently covering her hair.

For many young Iranians, the images of 22-year-old Amini, intubated and lifeless on an emergency room table, were too much to bear and something snapped. Unlike the Green Movement demonstrations of 2009, which were largely peaceful, enraged protesters today have violently brawled with the police units that exist largely to crush them.

If members of Congress squirm at the idea of supporting an Iran deal, they should consider how much worse their lives would become when President Biden asks them to vote to authorize military force against Iran’s nuclear program.

Some speculate that these protests might lead to an end of the regime in Tehran. It’s risky business to predict when and how Iran’s revolutionary government, in place since 1979, might fall. Iran-watchers should remember that optimism bias is a real thing, and the regime’s security architecture is purpose-built to crush internal dissent. For its part, the U.S. government has taken appropriate steps by sanctioning Iran’s morality police and working to re-establish internet access in Iran, which the regime disconnected in an attempt to prevent witnesses as it brutalizes its population.

Read the full article from The Hill.

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