In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, demonstrators gather to protest against Iran’s weak economy, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. A wave of spontaneous protests over Iran’s weak economy swept into Tehran on Saturday, with college students and others chanting against the government just hours after hard-liners held their own rally in support of the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment. (AP Photo)
Dr. Qanta Ahmed is a physician, a commentator, an author and a contributor to The Spectator, The Jerusalem Post, and The Huffington Post. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
In an appearance on Sunday morning on “Fox and Friends,” Ahmed discussed the student protests which began on Saturday in response to Iran’s admission late Friday that they had unintentionally shot down Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752 shortly after it had taken off from Tehran. This occurred just hours after Iran had launched missiles at Iraqi military bases which housed American troops. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted on Friday that it had been a “great tragedy and unforgivable mistake” and he blamed “human error.”
In between the crash and Rouhani’s admission on Friday night, however, Iran denied responsibility, refused to turn over the airplane’s black boxes and then bulldozed the crash site.
The protests on Saturday began with the demand that Ayatollah Khamenei resign and have since turned into protests against the regime.
Ahmed, a Muslin scholar, said: “This regime, for the first time ever, is seriously threatened and is in its most fragile and precarious time probably since 1979.” This is the first time I’ve heard such a strong statement about the Iranian government.
They’ve had a disastrous outcome to their attempt of intimidating the United States, their attempts on the embassy in Baghdad failed, they’ve had Qassem Soleimani [figuratively] decapitated, they had to admit that they shot down their own commercial airliner, killing hundreds of people, 83 Iranians, many Iranians have lost multiple family members.
I think the Iranians have to ask themselves what else have they [the regime] concealed.
It wasn’t just the error. They denied it at first, then finally they’re admitting it, now they want to know what other falsehoods have been fed.
1500 people were killed in recent protests in Iran before the Qassem Soleimani execution, so they are finally able to voice what they’ve suspected all along and we must not ignore those voices.
Ahmed praised President Trump’s words of support for the Iranian people saying that “President Trump made a wonderful statement on Twitter in Farsi, and in English, that the United States is with the people of Iran.”
To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2020
When asked if Iran will agree to negotiations, she answered, “I can’t imagine it because the more they threaten the more Promethean their grip. They would have to completely deny their origin, this regime. I do think this regime, for the first time ever, is seriously threatened. People are saying the United States is not our enemy, our regime is our enemy. Our enemy is not here in the U.S., it is here where we are in Tehran and that kind of explicit speech I’ve never encountered.”
I posted several days ago that current conditions make this a vulnerable time for Iran’s leadership. The regime is reeling from the death of a key leader, their economy is a shambles, and their Supreme leader is aging and possibly seriously ill. There may not be a better time than right now for a revolution.
Where the protests will lead from here is anyone’s guess. Is this the start of a new revolution? Or will it be crushed? Will the government kill protestors?
Below, Iranian journalist Heshmat Alavi provides video of the regime’s anti-riot units attacking civilians.
— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) January 12, 2020
The Gateway Pundit has just reported that a woman was allegedly shot in the head by a “Basij.” (Note: The Basij is an Iranian paramilitary organization. It is one of the five forces of the IRGC.) The story and video can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, in the Iraqi city of Basra, Fox foreign correspondent Trey Yingst reports that Iraqi journalist Ahmed Abdul Samad and his cameraman, Safaa Ghali, were assassinated after covering anti-government demonstrations.
Breaking: Iraqi journalist Ahmed Abdul Samad assassinated by unidentified gunmen after covering anti-government demonstrations in Basra pic.twitter.com/3OXjeam6Yu
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) January 10, 2020