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What Protests in Iraq and Lebanon Mean for Iran? by Struan Stevenson

What Protests in Iraq and Lebanon Mean for Iran?  by Struan Stevenson

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There is no doubt that the current uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon are particularly difficult for the mullahs to handle. Iran is attempting to distance itself from the already out of control tensions in both countries. However, local allies and armed groups being targeted by Iraqi and Lebanese demonstrators are making it quite challenging for Tehran to remain in the shadows. 

There are a new awakening and realization among these Arab nations about the devastating impact of Iran’s belligerence in their countries. And these protests are a sign of regional nations slamming their fists down hard and saying enough is enough. Online videos from Iraq show demonstrators, despite the violent crackdown that has leftover 250 dead and several thousand injured, bravely chanting “Iran out, out! Iraq will remain free.” Demonstrators are also stamping on and vividly insulting images of Khamenei and the IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, who was behind the massacre of peaceful protesters in Karbala, where black-clad and masked Quds Force gunmen killed 18 and injured 865. The Iranian regime’s flag has been burned in several Iraqi cities. 

At the end of the day, the regime in Iran understands very well that such protests in Iraq and Lebanon can portray a weak Tehran apparatus and a good target for a new round of protests and a nationwide uprising by the Iranian people. 

Struan Stevenson is the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC). He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA)

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