by Jackson Richman
Prominent retired CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos said on Lebanese journalist Maria Maloof’s show, The Capitol, that while the United States has tried to ensure Internet access and has sanctioned Iran’s so-called morality police, which has been cracking down on the protesters, Washington can only do so much.
Regarding the statements and actions taken by the U.S. in response to the protests, Polymeropoulos said that “on the face of it, no, it’s not enough, but of course, we have to balance what we can do. There’s a history of U.S. involvement in Iran and if we become too involved the worry is that we risk discrediting those we are seeking to help. So that’s the balancing act.”
With all due respect to Polymeropoulos, he is wrong that the U.S. cannot get too involved in supporting the protesters. While it is understandable that when the United States got involved with Iran in the 1970s it led to the evil regime that is currently in charge of the country, the United States is a force for good and the people of Iran are saying no more to the status quo that has been in place since 1979. President Obama was wrong to mostly be on the sidelines during the Green Revolution in 2009.
The United States so far has backed up its statements of support with action by granting a license for Internet providers to enable Iranians to access the Internet in their home country, which has rightly been heavily hit with U.S. sanctions. The United States should help get Starlink terminals inside Iran. CNN reported late last week the Biden administration has been in talks with Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, which operates Starlink, to allow Iranians to access Starlink, which connects its terminals to satellites in outer space.
Additionally, the CIA should provide weapons to the demonstrators so that they can protect themselves and fight the regime. Of course, intense scrutiny would need to be done by the CIA to ensure that they don’t fall into the hands of terrorists or those who are not for a free Iran. While burning hijabs has been an admirable act of defiance of the regime, such demonstrations can only achieve so much. The ammunition of the government can easily put down the protests.
Moreover, the United States should walk away once and for all from trying to get back into the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran deal, or giving a new deal to the Islamic Republic. Although the Biden administration has said that the talks are not a priority at the moment, that is not enough and not the same as ceasing talks indefinitely. Washington should revert to the “maximum pressure” campaign the Trump administration enacted. The administration has refused to enforce certain sanctions, which has led to consequences such as allowing Iran to incur revenue from South Korea.
Finally, the United States should have visas for Iranians who want to positively contribute to society whether it be in Iran, the United States or elsewhere. Innocent Iranians should not have to be banned for the actions of their own regime.