NCRI – The Iranian Regime suffers from many problems at home and abroad- all of its own making- that weaken its power and create opportunities for something new.
The most recent of these is the ongoing anti-regime protests- now in their second week- that showcase the regime’s deep regime’s unpopularity among its own people.
Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, wrote on Lawfare: “Protests are a fact of life in Iran—few are massive, sustained, or tied to a broader political cause, but all show at least some level of dissatisfaction with the regime.”
Even if these protests do not topple the Regime, the West should recognise that the Iranian Regime is weak and these weaknesses will make it difficult for it to negotiate regionally or internationally.
This is especially true given the failing health of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who may step down, or even die, soon. He has been looking for a successor who will, like him, control the entire of Iran and have no checks on that power. This search has resulted in infighting between the many factions of the Regime, who all want this absolute power, which make the Regime vulnerable now. However, the successor will also be weak during the transition and consolidation period.
The protests began over the sharp increase in the cost of living before turning into an anti-regime protest. This is unsurprising given the level of corruption that is evident in the Regime and the fact that the Regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) controls most of the economy. the Regime caused these economic problems.
The Iranian Regime would have you believe that their military is strong and powerful, but their reliance on terrorist proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen actually belies a lack of conventional military strength. Its armed forces are in disarray, its advanced missile systems are outdated, and as such it is vulnerable to conventional military pressure. Iran does not even have any strong allies to count on.
The US should exploit these weaknesses in order to target the Iranian Regime and ensure a free Iran.
Byman wrote: “The Trump administration’s decision to support the protesters is appropriate. The United States should be on, and be seen as being on, those risking their lives to resist an oppressive regime that is an avowed American enemy. Even if the government suppresses the protesters like their 2009 predecessors, the United States should use the occasion to recognize that Iran’s strength abroad rests on shaky foundations.”