The Corner

What Are Iran’s Plans Now that Mubarak Is Out? What Are Ours?

Berlin — Today marks the 32nd anniversary of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran, just as the Iranian regime, while falsely claiming to support Egyptians’ right to assemble and protest, employs heavy-handed tactics to suppress demonstrations in Tehran. The failure of the West to energetically confront Iran’s bellicose policies might very well be revealed in the post-Mubarak era.

Iran’s understanding of a new Egyptian political system mirrors the fiercely anti-democratic goals of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That helps to explain why a top Brotherhood official, Kamal al-Halbavi, says he seeks “a good government, like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is very brave.”

If the West, particularly the Obama administration, is serious about the business of democracy-promotion in Egypt and in the Muslim world, then an accelerated round of hard-hitting sanctions ought to be implemented against Iran’s energy sector. Iran’s authoritarian regime, like those of many Arab countries, is economically fragile; the key is to turn the sanctions screws on imports of Iranian crude oil to India, Italy, and China. Crude-oil sanctions targeting Iran serve the twin goals of advancing democracy in Egypt and perhaps contributing to the demise of the Iranian regime.

Moreover, EU countries should follow the example of the Netherlands, which this past week recalled its ambassador to protest the Iranian regime’s wretched human-rights record — the first EU country to do so. A 45-year-old Dutch-Iranian woman named Zahra Bahrami was hanged last month, an execution termed by Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal a “shocking act of a barbaric regime.” Bahrami’s “crime”? To replicate what Egyptian protestors are doing — namely, to demonstrate for more democracy. She participated in the 2009 demonstrations against the fraudulent election of Ahmadinejad. Iran’s judiciary framed her, alleging she smuggled narcotics.

In short, democratic change in Egypt is arguably contingent on blocking the spread of revolutionary Iranian Islam in the Middle East.

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Most Popular

Elections

The Democrats’ Disastrous CNN LGBT Town Hall

A few days after Donald Trump committed the worst foreign-policy blunder of his presidency by betraying America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria, former vice president Joe Biden, the elder statesman and co-frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, was on a national stage talking to CNN’s primetime ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Resigns

Fox News Channel's chief anchor, Shepard Smith, announced on air Friday that he would be resigning from his post after 23 years with the network. “This is my last newscast here,” said Smith. “Recently, I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged.” He ... Read More
NR Webathon

Don’t Let Michael Mann Succeed

I  enjoyed the running joke of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in the great Dickens novel Bleak House, back when I first read it. Little did I know that one day I and the magazine that I love would effectively be caught up in a version of that interminable case, courtesy of a litigious climate scientist with zero regard ... Read More