BEHIND THE IRAN HEADLINES Series, January 25, 2024, Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRI-US Deputy Director
Earlier this month, the Iranian regime launched ballistic missile attacks on Iraq, Syria, and, notably, Pakistan, all within a 24-hour period. These attacks represent a desperate move by a regime whose façade as a regional power is crumbling, especially in the eyes of its dwindling support base.
The recent killings of several high-ranking IRGC commanders, along with bomb explosions and attacks against the regime’s repressive centers and individuals across Iran, led the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, to calculate that such attacks would restore deterrence – primarily against the regime’s most existential threat: the Iranian people themselves.
However, this gamble has spectacularly backfired, further exposing the regime’s inherent weaknesses. Mere hollow slogans and boasts of military might cannot mask the ruling theocracy’s strategic vulnerabilities.
Fawad Hossein, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, commented on Iran’s missile strike in Erbil, stating, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has internal problems and is trying to export them outside the country.”
This sentiment echoes the common belief among the Iranian populace that the regime’s projection of power, including missile launches, is rooted in a deep-seated fear of its own citizens and the potential for the next uprising. The objective of creating a regional crisis is seen as a deliberate distraction from pressing internal issues.
Lasting peace depends on strategic decision-making that acknowledges a pivotal truth: The Iranian people, not the regime, are the key agents of change. They are courageously fighting for their fundamental rights against the repressive forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is imperative that Washington and other Western capitals recognize the Iranian people’s legitimate right to challenge their oppressive rulers, bring them down, and strive for freedom.