News & Politics

Iran's Khamenei: 'Do Whatever It Takes to End' Protests Against Regime

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Reuters has an exclusive report on the inner workings of the Iranian theocracy that should make rational people question Barack Obama’s sanity in negotiating with these thugs on anything.

Before the ayatollahs took over, Iran was a prosperous country with a thriving middle class. It’s true that the Shah’s secret police were especially brutal, but perhaps we should examine the kind of government that replaced the Shah’s rule.

Are the Iranian people better off today than they were under the Shah?

After days of protests across Iran last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared impatient. Gathering his top security and government officials together, he issued an order: Do whatever it takes to stop them.

That order, confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and a fourth official, set in motion the bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police.

That number of 1,500 murdered protesters is about double what other organizations and government had estimated.

The toll of 1,500 is significantly higher than figures from international human rights groups and the United States. A Dec. 16 report by Amnesty International said the death toll was at least 304. The U.S. State Department, in a statement to Reuters, said it estimates that many hundreds of Iranians were killed, and has seen reports that number could be over 1,000.

The figures provided to Reuters, said two of the Iranian officials who provided them, are based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals and coroner’s offices.

It should be mentioned that rather than shoot his protesting subjects down in the streets, the Shah abdicated the throne and left the country. Certainly, that doesn’t make the Shah into some kind of humanitarian. But the Shah still had plenty of support among much of the intelligentsia and secular Iranians who feared the rise of Islamism as much as the West did. He would have stuck it out if President Carter hadn’t thrown him under the bus.

There’s a certain kind of symmetry in this. During the administration of Barack Obama, the U.S. abandoned protesters who were demonstrating against the clearly rigged 2009 election. Then, too, religious police and Revolutionary Guard soldiers under the direct command of Ayatollah Khamenei shot hundreds of protesters. It is believed that Obama had put out feelers to Iran in order to improve relations. Like Carter, Obama showed incredibly bad judgment in abandoning protesters and dealing with a regime that deliberately murders its citizens.

Despite Trump’s actions in tossing the nuclear deal aside, the agreement continues to haunt the United States. Morally and strategically, it was the biggest foreign policy blunder of any president in recent memory.

The protests have mostly died down. But what it cost the regime to suppress it will be paid for again and again in blood.