By Shahriar Kia
The people of Iran have been described by U.S. President Trump as the first victims of the Iranian regime. They are far from the only victims of the Iranian regime, but they are by far the longest suffering.
Over the past few years, their troubles have continued to get worse as the social services in the country collapse because of lack of funding and lack of attention by the government. Drug addiction is on the increase, depression and mental illnesses are more common than ever, unemployment is at a high level, job security is practically non-existent and morale in the country is low.
The only thing keeping the people going is the prospect of regime change which they are adamant that they are going to achieve.
The Iranian regime has, as usual, been underplaying the country’s problems and passing the blame around. Internal in-fighting between the factions cannot be hidden any longer and even the state media is reporting about it.
Last weekend, during a public session of parliament (Majlis), a number of politicians took the opportunity to speak about the economic misery that the people have to endure. The dire living conditions and living standards that the people are having to put up with were mentioned.
A member of parliament on President Hassan Rouhani’s side said to the opposing faction that blaming the government, like the other side is doing, is not going to improve the economic situation. Mohammad Kazemi said that criticising President Rouhani is only going to play into the hands of those that want to see the ruling regime collapse.
He said that the whole regime must realise that the future is not certain because of the people who are “disillusioned about the impact of committed movements and personalities”. Kazemi said that those people and activists pushing for regime change will “take the lead in the country’s politics”.
However, describing those that want regime change or those that dream of a better future as “disillusioned” is ironic. The people want change because they have had enough of the regime’s repressive policies. They want a future where they can live how they want, according to whatever faith they want and all with the respect of human rights. They want equality and democracy and they want a future that is economically more secure. They are under no illusions that the mullahs ruling the country are completely incapable of reform and moderation and they know regime change is the only way forward.
Another member of parliament spoke about the widespread corruption in the country saying that the elite are lining their pockets at the expense of the people. Not only are people not being paid for the work they are doing in the petrochemical industry, but residents in Asaluyeh have died because of the effects of chemicals.
The regime’s mismanagement and incompetence is not even kept hidden. A government needs to tackle domestic issues first, not prioritise foreign terrorist activities over everything else. When the regime collapses, it will not just be a relief for the people, but also for the wider region and beyond.