Less than a week after attracting worldwide attention with their massive protests against their own government, the Iranian people continue their demonstrations, even as the media turn to impeachment and other matters closer to home.
Iranian opposition groups believe there is tremendous momentum towards ending the current Iranian regime. Alireza Jafarzadeh is deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, or NCRI.
He says two very important things happened last weekend. First, images and videos of the demonstrations actually got disseminated around the world. The Iranian government restored internet access in an attempt to benefit from coverage of the large gatherings following the killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Jafarzadeh says the anti-regime protests began before the mourning events were finished, making transmission of the later protests impossible to stop.
Jafarzadeh also says the supportive tweets for the demonstrators from President Trump are very significant. In a series of tweets posted in Farsi, Trump said the United States stood with the people of Iran, warned the Iranian government not to kill its own people or cut off internet access, and call for a human rights commission to investigate Iranian crimes against their own people.
While he insists the work of changing governments rests with the Iranian people, Jafarzadeh says Trump and other world leaders provide a great service by publicly supporting the demonstrators.
“The role of the outside world and the international community is extremely important to build pressure on the Iranian regime, to make the people understand this regime is not ten feet tall,” said Jafarzadeh. “This concerted effort, both from the outside and inside will eventually lead to the fall of the Iranian regime.”
Listen to the full podcast as Jafarzadeh describes the size and intensity of the demonstrations, the conditions under which the regime would actually leave, and why he thinks it is more vulnerable than ever. He also describes the efforts of the Iranian government to attack the opposition inside and outside of Iraq – including him.