Arab Spring Needs Iranian Summer to Survive

July 7 2011
Since December of 2010, the world has watched eagerly as a revolutionary wave of concurrent demonstrations took over much of the Gulf region. Fed up with the aggressive and strict policies of their countries, the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria have lead uprisings that have taken their respective governments months to quell. In recent weeks, there has been a distinct focus on the brutal crackdown of the Syrian government against its people; in May it was reported that 7,000 people had been detained since the start of the protests with more than 800 protesters and citizens dead.

The protests in Syria make us think of Iran. Not only is the nature of the protests similar to that which occurred in Iran following the disputed elections of 2009, but the brutality of the government’s retaliation has also made it clear that the Iranian regime has been unapologetically interfering in the region by aiding the Syrian government in its violent attack upon its own people.

We’re not the only ones who have noticed. David Amess, a UPI Outside View Commentator, asserts that Iranian interference in Syria has become a growing problem that may permanently stand in the way of the Arab Spring bringing true democratic change to the region. It is the responsibility of the global community to catalyze regime change by actively supporting the opposition in Iran, emphasizing that such changes in Iran are necessary for the demands of protesters in the Gulf region to ever come to fruition.

Amess reports:

It can be no coincidence that the methods used by the Syrian forces are similar to those used by the Iranian regime to brutally crack down on the Iranian people’s protests of 2009.

Now as Western leaders continue to lead from behind on the issue of the Arab Spring, weak in their condemnation of the crackdowns and disappointingly lacking in their support for the democratic movements, Iran has set its sights on crushing the Arab Spring and thereby ending the hope of the Iranian people that the Arab Spring will assist their democratic opposition movement.

As the regime shows its clear intent to support governments in the region in crushing the Arab Spring while also attempting to destroy the PMOI (People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran) in Iraq and activists inside the country, the West’s failure to act against this Iranian threat could have dire regional consequences.

It is clear that the United States, United Kingdom and European Union must now do all within their power to curtail the Iranian regime’s destructive influence in the region, thereby allowing the democratic movements of the Arab Spring to continue and the flourishing shoots of the Iranian Summer to strengthen.


With the Iranian regime aggressively escalating its interference amid the revolutionary fervor in the Gulf Region, developing reports from senior U.S. officials confirm that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps--Iran’s elite military unite--has transferred lethal new munitions to allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, experts stated that “The Revolutionary Guard has smuggled rocket-assisted exploding projectiles to its militia allies in Iraq, weapons that have already resulted in the deaths of American troops”

The Journal goes on to report that experts said:

Iranians have also given long-range rockets to the Taliban in Afghanistan, increasing the insurgents' ability to hit U.S. and other coalition positions from a safer distance.

Such arms shipments would escalate the shadow competition for influence playing out between Tehran and Washington across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by U.S. preparations to draw down forces from two wars and the political rebellions that are sweeping the region.”

Although such reports come as no surprise given the regime’s long history of interfering in military and domestic affairs of neighboring countries, the extent to which Iran is continuing to extend its nuclear reach into politically unstable Afghanistan and Iraq is definite cause for concern for both the United States and the global community. It is clear that Iran’s narrowed focus on countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq is a ploy to, as the Journal puts it, “gain political ground amid the turmoil” and to further “make the the U.S. withdrawals as quick and painful as possible.”

“‘I think we are likely to see these Iranian-backed groups continue to maintain high attack levels’ as the exit date nears,' Maj. Gen. James Buchanan, the U.S. military’s top spokesman in Iraq, said in an interview.
‘But they are not going to deter us from doing everything we can to help the Iraqi security forces.’"

“U.S. officials in Iraq said the Qods Force [Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s overseas unit) is training and arming three primary militias that have in recent months attacked U.S. and Iraqi forces. Kata'ib Hezbollah, or Brigades of the Party of God, is viewed as the one most directly taking orders from Revolutionary Guard commanders in Iran.

Iranian interference in these countries does not stop at its training of military forces along the Iraqi/Afghan borders; the regime’s influence also extends into nuclear territories.

Over the past six months, Kata'ib Hezbollah has escalated attacks on U.S. forces employing weapons called IRAMs, or improvised rocket-assisted munitions. The weapons are often propane tanks packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives and powered by rockets. Militiamen launch the weapons from the backs of flatbed trucks.

In Afghanistan, the Pentagon has in recent months traced to Iran the Taliban's acquisition of rockets that give its fighters roughly double the range to attack North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.S. targets. U.S. officials said the rockets' markings, and the location of their discovery, give them a "high degree" of confidence that they came from the Revolutionary Guard's overseas unit, the Qods Force.


Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a prominent Iranian rights lawyer has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of “seeking to overthrow the ruling system.” Dadkhah has worked closely with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi in establishing the Defenders of Human Rights Center, an organization that represents activists and dissidents who have been arrested as a result of their involvement in protests following the “stolen elections” of 2009.

The sentence also means that Dadkhah is prohibited from practicing law and teaching in university for the next ten years. Dadkhah insists that he will appeal the decision.

Dadkhah joins Nasrin Sotoudeh along with dozens of other respected rights lawyers who have been arrested and barred from practicing law as a result of recent regime crackdowns on those who support the opposition movement.

It is imperative that the global community continues to support rights lawyers and activists such as Mohammad Dadkhah in their fight against the attempts of the regime to stifle their strides toward justice, freedom, and democracy in Iran.

Iran180 is a movement of people and organizations who have come together to say Yes to Human Rights, No to Nuclear Rights.

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