How To Help The Iranian Revolution From Abroad

Written By Daniel Bordman, Posted on October 20, 2022

After the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini by the Islamic Republic’s morality police, the people of Iran have returned to the streets to overthrow the regime that has oppressed them for the last 43 years. This time for whatever reason the world is paying attention to the Iranian people more than they did in 2017 and 2019.

So as many people have finally been exposed to the brutality of the Islamic Republic, there has been a consent question asked by well-meaning people who are new to the movement, “what can I do to help?”

So here it is:

The Little Things

The simplest thing you can do to help the Iranian people is to help be their voice. Post on your social media with the hashtags #IranRevolution, #MahsaAmini, or #OpIran. Although it is a small thing, keeping international attention on the Islamic Republic will save lives in Iran. While the regime will be committing massacres in the coming weeks and months, the level of violence is actually below what they did in 2019 during “Bloody November”. In November 2019 the regime killed at least 3000 peaceful protestors. When asked about why they were shooting protesters in the head, an IRGC commander replied that “they were also shooting people in the legs” as if that was a justification. But the world just shrugged them off. Global attention won’t fix the problems but it does help.

Another easy thing that anyone can do is join the local protests, if you live near a major city there is likely a protest organized by your local activists on Saturday as Saturdays are the biggest protest days inside Iran.

Finally, the ever-consistent letter-writing campaign always has political utility. Most politicians see one letter/email as the equivalent of about 100 votes. So when you write a letter to your MP or Congressmen make sure to stay civil and mention some keys points:

  • You are concerned about the human rights abuses by the Islamic Republic

  • You want full diplomatic isolation of the regime and its agents abroad

  • Expand sanctions

  • If you are in Canada: Declare the entire IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization under the criminal code

  • If you are in the US ask them to list NIAC under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) (This is explained more Here)

Lies and disinformation to look out for

The propaganda machine of the Islamic Republic in the West is far more complicated and sophisticated than what other regimes like the Russians are able to muster.

Since information is a great counter to propaganda, here is a good primer video on the structure of the Islamic Republic that I made with the help of a former political prisoner of the regime and refugee Sia Sufi

There are two levels of Regime propaganda, the first is the open propagandists like PressTV. PressTV is the English language propaganda network funded by the regime, they will often push the narrative that all criticism of the regime is a “CIA coup” or the Mossad. General bassless nonsense that only works on their hardliner supporters and reflexive conspiracy nuts.

PressTV was banned in the UK for broadcasting the forced confessions (torture) of political prisoners. Of note to Canadians, the Prime Minister’s brother and current adviser, Alexandre Trudeau, used to work for PressTV and made propaganda documentaries for them.

The second level of propaganda is far more dangerous and insidious.  There is a good reason why many Iranian activists and dissidents are going to war online with NIAC (National Iranian American Council) and not PressTV. NIAC and its associates have been playing the false “reformist” game for decades. If you understand how the Islamic Republic works you would know that there is no possibility of reform, the existence of the Guardian Council ensures this.

Here is how the false reformist game is played. Regime advocates in the West come on TV and pretend to be opponents of the Islamic Republic and supporters of reform. They propose a false narrative that the government of Iran has “Hardliners” and “Reformists”, and that certain actions (often appeasement) will empower the reform movement. 

Again, reform is impossible as through the Guardian Council no one who is actually against the regime gets into power, also the legitimacy of the so-called elections (Iranians call the selections) is questionable at best. Here is a great 3-minute example of fools in the Western media (Vox) falling for this grift hook, line, and sinker. 

It would be one thing if this roose only worked on left-leaning mainstream media groups, but unfortunately, it has made its way into the Obama administration and EU politics.

There are two major red flags that you should watch out for to identify a regime propagandist and a false reformist. The first is talk of sanctions relief and the second is advocating for the JCPOA or “Iran Deal”.

The most common talking point of the Iran lobby is “sanctions relief”. Before going into depth, we must highlight the most common lie told: “medicine was under sanctions,” which is obvious nonsense. I personally know Iranians in America who sent medicine back to Iran at the height of the Trump sanctions. The regime and its international mouthpieces love to push this lie to make the sanctions seem spiteful and inhumane. Anyone who claims that medicine was under sanctions is a liar. 

The more common tactic to help out the regime is to say that “sanctions only hurt the people, not the regime”, and of course, sanctions empower the hardliners and undermine the reformist movement. This is another lie. When sanctions were lifted on Iran, the quality of life never improved for the people. However, there were some people outside of the government that did benefit. Unfortunately, all of them were foreign terrorist organizations. The Islamic Republic finances Hezbollah, Hames, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hashd al Shaabi, and many more militant groups all around the world. So when the Islamic Republic got billions of dollars from the Obama administration under the JCPOA there was a massive windfall that was sent directly to the Houthis, who were just a large mountain tribe in Yemen, but after the Islamic Republic gave them weapons and training they overthrew the Yemeni government which started the civil war there.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants.

Slight tangent, this was the main grip of the mass uprisings in Iran that started in 2019. Instead of “Woman, Life, Freedom” the major slogan of the 2019 uprisings loosely translated to “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon, my life for Iran”. Essentially, the people were calling for regime change noting that their wealth was being stolen and sent to foreign terrorist organizations to foster the Mullah’s goals of a global caliphate. 

Unfortunately, the massive countrywide uprising in 2017 and 2019 never got the attention that they should have. This brings us to another lie that the regime apologists are trying to circulate, that these current uprisings are somehow unprecedented or never seen before. That is false, in both 2017 and 2019 people all across Iran took to the streets to call for regime change. The current revolution is really a continuation of the 2019 uprising where the regime gunned down at least 3000 people in November alone and had to effectively import COVID into the country to shut down the protests.

The people of Iran do not want sanctions relief, they want regime change. There is no better proof of that than the nationwide strikes across all the major industries. The message from the people is clear: if the Western governments will not sanction the regime then we will. 

Anyone who tries to sell the sanction relief narrative is just trying to get cash for the Mullahs.

This brings us to the most insidious and/or foolish foreign policy blunder of all time the JCPOA also known as the Iran Deal. Billed as a means to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons, in practice, it does the exact opposite.

Only 8 and 10 years after signing the JCPOA, the Islamic Republic would be able to start enriching uranium and start developing Intercontinental ballistic missiles with all corresponding sanctions being lifted. Then after the 20-year mark, all restrictions would be gone, and the Islamic Republic would have nuclear bombs and the missile capabilities to hit any city in the world with them.

If that sounds rather reckless, and you are thinking that the Obama administration would never make a deal with this with no failsafe, that is partly true, but there is another problem.

If the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found any violations of the enrichment protocols by the Islamic Republic it would void the deal and reimpose sanctions. When the IAEA usually does nuclear inspections they are supposed to perform surprise inspections of suspected weapons sites. However, under the JCPOA the Islamic Republic would be given forewarning of a coming inspection and could designate certain areas off limits to inspectors…

That is right the Islamic Republic got to dictate where and when the inspectors could look. Not surprisingly, no violations were ever found by the IAEA.

This is why the Trump administration pulled out of the deal.

To make things even worse the Obama administration freed up billions of dollars of cash and sent it to the Mullahs and reports even indicate that the administration allowed Hezbollah to establish a foothold in Latin America as a base for narco-terrorism. Did that cash go to the people of Iran? No, it caused Yemen to burn and the Yemeni people to starve.

This is why many Iranian dissidents see the people who advocated for the JCPOA as assets of the Mullahs. Because in order to advocate for the Iran Deal you have to be extremely stupid or ignorant or a willful supporter of the regime. The average person can be excused for buying the media’s lies, but the people spinning those lies can not. 

The most recent example of mainstream JCPOA advocacy was when Vali Nasr, A professor at Johns Hopkins University and foreign policy advisor to Obama, came on Christiane Amanpour’s show on CNN to make the insane case that if the Iran deal is not revived the protestors in the streets of Iran would be hurt.

This, and many other instances are why the Hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs has trended often during the revolution. That is why placing NIAC on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is such a powerful tool. It would not stop NIAC from lobbying, but it would force them to register as agents of a foreign country and that would destroy their false narrative that they represent the Iranian American/Canadian community. 

The good news is that NIAC has been forced to drop its false reformist grift and has now started its false revolutionary grift. While there are still some career regime apologists, like Negar Mortazavi who will downplay the revolution, others have decided that they have seen the light and the Islamic Republic is no longer redeemable. Somehow the murder of thousands of peaceful protesters during Bloody November in 2019 was still a redeemable act. 

Two icons of the Left, John Stewart, and John Oliver have recently decided that NIAC will be their go-to experts for the Iranian Revolution. It seems that the new narrative to undermine the revolution is either to play it up as just a woman’s rights movement about the hijab laws or to claim that Iranians on the streets don’t want Western intervention. This is not to say that the Iranian people want American weapons or boots on the ground, but they do need and want support.

The new false revolutionary line plays on people’s perception of Middle Eastern anti-Americanism, if you are told that the people of Iran don’t want your help that may sound somewhat reasonable, and can be billed as either “we can do it ourselves!” or “we are scared of American Imperialism”. Either way, the effect is to take Western attention off of the Islamic Republic so the regime can crack down as they did in 2019.

How can I do more?

If you have managed to get through this whale of an article so far I commend you and thank you for caring about this issue.

Hopefully, this has provided a good base of knowledge for you to help guide yourself through this space without getting co-opted by the regime’s foreign assets. There is such a wealth of history when it comes to Iran from the Persian empire to the myth that Mossadeq was democratically elected that this article could easily turn into a thesis paper.

If you do have a Twitter account, the feature of Twitter Spaces is a great way to get knowledge of the situation. There is a group of Iranian activists that run great spaces every day during the revolution that give live updates and often have Iranians inside Iran giving you live updates of the situation on the group. These spaces are also very free, so you can request the mic and come up and ask a question or two if you want specific knowledge on anything in Iran. So if you don’t have a Twitter account, create one and if you do have one follow these accounts: Xerxes, Cassandan, Ali. You can also follow my account linked here.

In short, we need to be stronger in standing up to the evil of the Islamic Republic and help steer our governments toward maximum pressure, because it works. A good example is the reaction of the regime when the Americans took out Qassem Solemani and why people like me said it would make war with the Islamic Republic less likely

I will end with this: I do believe that this revolution has a very good chance of overthrowing the regime and you do have the power to help the people succeed and make the world a better place for everyone, everyone who is not a terrorist.

Daniel Bordman

Daniel is the host of political satire show Uninterrupted, runs multiple podcasts and has written for a variety of publications. Daniel is also the communications coordinator of the Canadian Antisemitism Education Foundation. You can find him on Twitter here. Uninterrupted on YouTube

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