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A Fire Bell in the Night for the Ayatollah

As tens of thousands marched in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday in support of Iran’s regime, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, assured Iranians the “sedition” had been defeated.

Jafari is whistling past the graveyard.

The protests that broke out a week ago and spread and became riots are a fire bell in the night for the Islamic Republic.

The demonstrators denounced President Hassan Rouhani, re-elected last year with 57 percent of the vote, for failing to curb inflation or deliver the benefits he promised when Iran signed the nuclear deal.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commander in chief and head of state, in power for three decades, was also denounced, as were Iran’s interventions and wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen.

In 2009, the uprising of millions in Tehran was driven by middle-class rage over an election stolen by the populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This past week’s protests began in the working class, in what might be called Iran’s “fly-over country.”

The protesters were red state and tea party types, demanding their own version of “Come Home, Iran” and “Iran First!”

The charge against Rouhani is that he has failed to deliver the good times promised. Against the ayatollah and the mullahs, the charge is that what they have delivered—power and wealth to the clerics, social repression, foreign wars—are not what the Iranian people want.

The greater long-term threat of the protests is to the Islamic regime itself.

For if the protests are about people being denied the freedom and material goods the young enjoy in the West, the protesters are demanding what theocracies cannot deliver. How can the ayatollah and the mullahs, who restrict freedom by divine law, accept democratic freedoms without imperiling their own theological dictatorship?

How can the Republican Guard surrender its slice of the Iranian economy and end its foreign interventions without imperiling its reason for being—to protect and promote the Iranian Islamic revolution?

Half of Iran’s population is 31 or younger. This new generation was not even born until a decade after the revolution that overthrew the Shah.

How does a clerical regime speak to a people of whom 40 million have smartphones connecting them to an outside world on which they can see the freedom and prosperity they seek but their government cannot or will not deliver?

The protesters are also telling Rouhani’s “reformers,” in power now for five years, that they, too, have failed.

Rouhani’s dilemma? To grow Iran’s economy and improve the quality of life, he needs more foreign investment and more consumer goods. Yet any surge in material prosperity that Rouhani delivers is certain to undermine the religious faith undergirding the theocratic regime.

And as any transfer of power to the elected government has to come at the expense of the clerics and the Guard, Rouhani is not likely to see that happen.

Thus, he and his government are likely to continue to fail.

Bottom line: The Islamic Republic of Iran was not established to create a materially prosperous and socially free society, because, in the ayatollah’s theology, such societies, like the United States, are of the devil and corruptive of the people.

Social freedom is irreconcilable with Iranian theocracy.

And Iranian hard-liners, clerical and military, are not going to permit protests to cause them to commit what they believe would be ideological suicide.

Yet the United States and President Trump also face a dilemma.

If, as Trump says, we wish the Iranian people well, how do we justify scrapping the nuclear deal in which Iranians have placed so much hope, and reimposing the sanctions that will restore the hardships of yesterday?

How does America proclaim herself a friend of the Iranian people if we are trying to persuade Europeans to abrogate the nuclear accord and reinstitute the sanctions that impoverish the Iranian people?

Will we urge the Iranians to rise up and overthrow their regime, as we did the Hungarians in 1956, which resulted in their massacre by Soviet tanks sent into Budapest? Ike’s response: he sent Vice President Nixon to greet the surviving Hungarian patriots fleeing across the Andau Bridge into Austria.

After Desert Storm in 1991, George H.W. Bush urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein. When the Shiites did, they, too, were massacred, as our Army from Desert Storm stood by in Kuwait.

If there is an Iranian uprising and it results in a Tiananmen Square slaughter in Tehran, do we really want the U.S., which would not likely intervene to save the patriots, held morally accountable?

The Iranian protests suggest the Islamic Revolution, after 40 years, is failing the rising generation. It is hard to see how this is not ominous news for the Iranian regime.

As was the case with the Soviets, time is not on the side of the ayatollahs.

We need not go to war with them. Time will take care of them, too.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

26 Comments (Open | Close)

26 Comments To "A Fire Bell in the Night for the Ayatollah"

#1 Comment By KD On January 5, 2018 @ 1:22 pm

It is hard to see that a few street protests will unwind this regime. They will hand onto power unless they stop regularly paying the police and the military. That is not to say that a US invasion will not end in another Iraq-sized disaster for the US. . .

#2 Comment By Youknowho On January 5, 2018 @ 2:28 pm

This reminds me how, during the Russian revolution any disturbance in England or France was greeted with headlines “Revolution in England” in Pravda…

Just because you hope for it, does not make it so.

#3 Comment By wise_pharaoh On January 5, 2018 @ 3:10 pm

Why are the protests that break out in countries America does not like always “good”. However when there are protests in our own country, those protesters are detested, called all sorts of names and the overwhelming sentiment is to through them in Jail? See the 99% protests.

#4 Comment By ukm1 On January 5, 2018 @ 3:30 pm

It was NOT long ago, Americans were propagandizing all over the world that Iraqi people had been crying for freedom and democracy for decades and it only needed a little bit of American-Israeli-Saudi military assistance to topple Saddam Hussein al’Tikriti from power in order to make democracy run amok all over Middle East!

However, the historical reality is, in Islam, there’s no pluralistic democracy.

Shi’ite Muslims can go only as far as they could via establishing Dr. Hassan Rouhani as the democratically-elected president of the Islamic Republic.

These so-called Iranian street-demonstrators will fold like the Venezuelan street-demonstrators a few months ago and that was just last year.

#5 Comment By EarlyBird On January 5, 2018 @ 4:12 pm

Not only do we not need to go to war for the mullahs to lose their grip (as if that’s our right or responsibility to even consider), but the very best thing we could do is make careful and persistent attempts at a real detente with Iran. Let’s begin to respect them as a regional and economic power, while keeping a very close eye on them. The reality is that they do not back madrassahs that poison the minds of young men and turn them into anti-Western jihadis. That’s what the Saudis and our other Arab allies do.

No longer having the Great Satan to point to as the reason for Iran’s woes is the worst thing that could happen to the mullahs. We need to kill them with kindness.

#6 Comment By Christian Chuba On January 5, 2018 @ 4:18 pm

I’m certain that most Iranians look at Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon and think, wow, if our military disbanded the west would treat us just as well as these countries, Iran first!

How do we know what the majority of Iranians think, we wouldn’t go to an Occupy Wallstreet demonstration and project that on the entire U.S.

I don’t know any more than any other American, just pointing out that we are projecting our views on what little we see. Is this an ‘uprising’ or just a protest, don’t know. I’d love to get paid to go on FOX and pretend I know.

#7 Comment By Realist (the first one) On January 5, 2018 @ 4:19 pm

“Bottom line: The Islamic Republic of Iran was not established to create a materially prosperous and socially free society, because, in the ayatollah’s theology, such societies, like the United States, are of the devil and corruptive of the people.”

I hate to say it, but I think they are right on this point. When you consider how material affluence has corrupted American society, how we are at the forefront of a whole host of moral and social ills such as abortion, pornography, family breakdown, drug addiction, mental illness, gender reassignment of adolescents, etc., etc., then you have to wonder if we wouldn’t have been better off as a society if we had remained in the economic condition of the Great Depression.

#8 Comment By Kent On January 5, 2018 @ 4:41 pm

Let the Iranians fight and die for their own democracy. That is the only way they will place any value on it.

#9 Comment By Nathan On January 5, 2018 @ 4:54 pm

Pat makes the mistake of amplifying what is actually a small contingent of Iranians. Agreed we need not go to war, but highly doubtful time will take care of “the greatest exporter of terror” (I use that untruthful cliché in jest).
Pat, you can’t pick and choose which protests are “good” and “bad,” (nor can you pick which one’s will succeed or fail in bringing down a government) leave that to the spin masters at major network stations and the twitter fools with blue marks next to their name.

#10 Comment By Nathan On January 5, 2018 @ 4:54 pm

Oh wait I forgot, I guess you have a check mark next to your name. Carry on. Hah.

#11 Comment By Dan Green On January 5, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

Why is it we believe, we have to stick our nose continuously in the middle east. So far our so called foreign policy in that region, has been a disaster. We don’t need Saudi Oil any longer, and Israel has weaponry to fend for themselves. Next

#12 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On January 5, 2018 @ 6:19 pm

US support for the Iranian protesters would be as toxic as Russian or Chinese support for the Black Lives Matter or #MeToo movements.

#13 Comment By SteveK9 On January 5, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

I think we should replace the dictionary definition of ‘wishful thinking’ with this article. Buchanan’s analysis of internal politics of Iran is hilarious. Stick to what you know Pat.

#14 Comment By Cornel Lencar On January 5, 2018 @ 7:35 pm

Of, of, of Pat!
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is far worst in the way it treats its citizens, but because there are no US sanctions acting there, Saudis can sell and then use their petrodollars for whatever they want.

So, remove all the sanctions and then see if this sanctimony will apply.

#15 Comment By Youknowho On January 5, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

@Realist(the first one)

The Iranian revolution might not have been established to create a materially prosperous society, but it delivered in making life better for the majority of Iranians.


#16 Comment By DanJ On January 6, 2018 @ 3:52 am

Re:half of Iran under 30 years of age.

A few years back I saw an Iranian movie named “Offside”. It starts with a group of girls sneaking in to watch a soccer game, which is forbidden for women. The guards are there to stop them, and events unfold.

The movie aptly describes how both the young girls and the young officers know the system is stupid, but try to work around it and get along. That’s the way it works in real life. Most oppressive societies are populated by good and decent people, who want a better life, but not by civil war.

And change is coming for sure.The demographics of Iran is a force of nature that will have its way. Persia is one of the cradles of our civilization, and the Persians too capable to be held down for very long. The islamic revolution will one day be remembered as an strange but brief interlude.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 6, 2018 @ 5:50 am

Wait and see works for this conservative.

#18 Comment By B. Bagheri On January 6, 2018 @ 6:33 am

Mr. Buchanan’s reading of the situation in Iran is actually not far off the mark.

The mullahs have been trying to square a circle for forty years: create a modern society that is consistent with their peculiar hard-line theology and worldview. At the same time, they have picked a fight with just about everyone including each other. None of this is sustainable.

Exactly how all of this will play out is anyone’s guess. But one thing is certain: war would only make matters worse.

#19 Comment By VikingLS On January 6, 2018 @ 10:56 am

I wonder what you people want from Buchanan. What he seems to be advocating here is a hands off approach, and maybe a little cautious optimism.

Unless you WANT US intervention in Iran, that’s pretty much harmless.

#20 Comment By MEOW On January 6, 2018 @ 2:15 pm

Patrick is saying what most non-neocons say – It is none of our business. The neocon rhetoric advocating war will remain, but they unlikely won’t do the fighting and dying. Give peace a big chance.

#21 Comment By PAX On January 6, 2018 @ 9:11 pm

California – when last I checked is nominally Christian and significantly Catholic. It did not support Trump nor right-wing Christian Trump efforts. Former Jesuit trainee Jerry Brown just declared the state a sanctuary state. Catholic Mayor Gavin Newsom catalyzed gay marriages. Let’s stop generalizing about Christians. There is not even a movement among Catholics to return the captured Vatican (Franco-Prussian War 1970) states to the Papacy? I believe these six-entities were under the Papacy much longer than Israel was a historically a Judaic state.

#22 Comment By LouisM On January 6, 2018 @ 11:19 pm

It remains to be seen if this is a Tiananmen style protest which will be put down and forgotten or the stirrings of real change.

The Iranians I know do not consider themselves arab. They consider themselves conquered by arabs. Many don’t consider themselves muslim but that they were conquered and forced to convert to Islam. If Iran were freed, would it still be Islamic or would Persians return to a Persian identity? Would Persian nationalism supercede Islam? Its an interesting question.

Right now Islam pervades all aspects of Iranian life: Grammer School, College, Workplace, Family, friends, media, Culture, etc.

Now I must look in the mirror. It is unfair to judge another while refusing to judge ourselves. We in the US and the West have cultural Marxism (called by many many names) pervading all aspects of our lives: Grammer School, College, Workplace, Family, friends, media, Culture. Free speech is nonexistent on college campuses. Tuition is rising faster than inflation as layers upon layers of Directors of Diversity and Speech codes and Safe Spaces are deriguer. Colleges engorge themselves by offering worthless faculty teaching various forms of Marxist cultural victimization. Media (infotainment, entertainment, so called journalism even sports) are propaganda controlling the culture. Corruption and Collusion to a degree never before seen are deriguer in the democratic party and deep state. All western nations are self hating and depopulating. Japan and South Korea and Taiwan have the lowest birthrates in the world. YET WITH ALL THE THREATS WE AS A NATION ONLY FOCUS ON THE EXTERNAL THREATS BECAUSE WE CAN SEND IN OUR MILITARY FOR A POLICE ACTION OR WAR. WE CAN KILL WITH GUNS, BOMBS, DRONES, ETC WITH NARRY A WHISPER OF PROTESTATION. WE CAN DO THINGS TO FOREIGN PEOPLES AND FOREIGN NATIONS THAT NEED TO BE DONE RIGHT HERE TO OUR OWN PEOPLE. WE WILL DO IT SOMEPLACE ELSE BUT WE WONT DO IT TO THE PEOPLE HERE DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY USING ALL THE LEVERS OF POWER THEY HAVE SIEZED CONTROL.


Lastly, is it worth protecting a Europe that cannot even control its borders? Is it worth protecting Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan if they are willing to commit suicide thru depopulation or in the case of Europe depopulation and replacement by African and Islamic migrants? Should we not demand they wake up from their dream and fix their domestic problems before we commit to being their partner and protector?

#23 Comment By ukm1 On January 7, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

Supporters of régime change in the Islamic Republic of Iran are America, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

There is nothing new about that.

In order to have a bloody revolution, there has to be at least 30% of any given population of any régime willing to die and there must be a group of popular leaders standing-by and willing to take over the failed régime.

Less than 10% of Iranian populations at present are verbally willing to do just that.

Current domestic turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran is basically economic in nature where Iranians cannot buy eggs for their morning breakfast at a cheaper price.

Which is similar to Venezuelan protests a few months ago last year where Venezuelan people found steep rise in prices of toilet-papers.

As with any economically restrained country where American govt. officially implements economic sanctions, there will always be shortage of eggs for morning breakfast and shortage of toilet-papers for bathrooms!

Plus, world’s crude-oil prices are down, which makes Iranian govt. relatively poorer with 80 million hungry mouths to feed everyday.

But, to say that Iranians now are crying for military intervention from America, Israel and Saudi Arabia in order to make the “Islamic Republic” a “Secular Republic” is similar to saying that world’s faithful Shi’ite Muslims actually do not believe in al’Quran.

#24 Comment By Frankie P On January 7, 2018 @ 7:10 pm

Yes, Pat Buchanan is delivering his major point: the US has no business getting involved in the Iranian protests, so we should just wait and see what happens. Most realist conservatives would agree with this point. The backstory that he presents, however, is so full of holes and mistruths, surface analyses and omissions, that it seriously impacts his major point. When you support your main thesis with details and facts made of excrement, don’t be surprised when people say it smells like an outhouse.

“Rouhani’s dilemma? To grow Iran’s economy and improve the quality of life, he needs more foreign investment and more consumer goods. Yet any surge in material prosperity that Rouhani delivers is certain to undermine the religious faith undergirding the theocratic regime.”

Pat Buchanan, like the presstitutes in mainstream media, fails to address two big issues when talking about Rouhani’s failure to grow Iran’s economy. They are 1. US driven international economic blockade and sanctions and 2. US driven international economic blockade and sanctions. Yes, Rouhani mistakenly hoped that the lifting of SOME of the sanctions brought about by JCPOA would immediately lift the economy and bring about a flood of international investment. It did not, and that is not surprising, considering the belligerent attitude that Washington still takes towards Iran and the poodle-like relationship of the European politicians and economies with the US. Anyone who believes that the economic blockade and sanctions have been lifted is NOT paying attention.

“The protesters were red state and tea party types, demanding their own version of “Come Home, Iran” and “Iran First!””

Wishful thinking by Pat and the west, propelled by dishonest journalism from the western media, hell bent on turning economic protests into political protests and then magnifying them into calls for regime change. Fact: A recent poll of Iranians shows great support for the military and other support Iran is giving other countries in the region: (“In general, to what degree do you support or oppose Iran providing help to”: Hezbollah (71% approve), government of Assad (66% approve), Hamas (70% approve) Shiites and Kurds in Iraq fighting ISIL (88% approve), Iran should send military personnel to Syria (63% approve).

These numbers represent a mandate of the people.

“How does a clerical regime speak to a people of whom 40 million have smartphones connecting them to an outside world on which they can see the freedom and prosperity they seek but their government cannot or will not deliver?”

Is that really what they see, Pat? Are you sure that they don’t see the things that YOU see when you endlessly criticize the ongoing destruction of western Christian civilization? Societies from Europe to North America that have traded in their morality and spirituality for a cheap materialism that leaves them feeling empty and in need of painkillers (OxyContin), conveniently supplied by those who seek the end of their civilization and culture. Do those young Iranians yearn for our porn culture, our gutting of the traditional family, our embracing transgenderism and homosexuality as beacons of freedom, all conveniently pushed by the agenda of the usual suspects? Do they? Perhaps they agree with their religious authorities on some of these issues?

In conclusion, when Pat Buchanan writes about the US and criticizes what he and many conservatives see as an ongoing project to hijack and gut the prevailing culture built over the past centuries, he wears one hat. That hat causes people to label him an Anti-semite, loses him lucrative TV talking head positions and places him at the margins of journalism. It has had an effect on his writing, a big effect in my view. When he writes about Iran, he suddenly ADOPTS many of the views of the progressive SJW left, crowing about our freedoms and democracy, our materialism and free culture, and to be honest, it doesn’t sound like Pat Buchanan.

Yes, Pat, let’s stay the hell out of Iran. I’m with your there. But I liked you better when you were a truth-teller all the way, regardless of the names you were called.

Frankie P

#25 Comment By what’s up On January 8, 2018 @ 3:45 am

Not to worry. Jackasses like Nikki Haley, Binyamin Netanyahu, Lindsay Graham, and various White House mouthpieces killed off any possibility of these demonstrations succeeding by making lots of public statements supporting the protestors.

But of course they don’t WANT the demonstrators to succeed. They want the US to start a war with Iran. They want the US to kill lots of Iranians and stay mired in the Middle East forever.

#26 Comment By Donald Sassano On January 8, 2018 @ 10:48 am

If Iranians had access to American TV in 1968 and watched, say, coverage of the Democratic Convention, we may have excused them for believing the US government was about to fall. So it goes, once again, in reverse. Don’t bet the ranch on my political prognostications, but I think there will be an Islamic Republic of Iran long after the House of Saud falls, and Israel ceases to be Jewish and democratic.