Iranian rescue teams work amid debris after a Ukrainian airliner carrying 176 passengers and crew crashed near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport early in the morning of January 8, killing everyone on board. (AFP via Getty Images)

How Can Iran Get Out of This Crisis?

Al-Riyadh, UAE, January 19

It seems as if when trouble rains in Iran, it pours. After the American strike that killed Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the death of a number of Iranians in the stampede during his funeral, the Iranian regime faced yet another colossal disaster when it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane and attempted to cover up its mistake. Within hours, almost every major international airline announced its decision to avoid Iranian airspace. While the decision deprived Tehran of significant financial gains, the bigger loss was the huge blow to the regime’s reputation both at home and abroad. Demonstrations soon erupted in Iranian universities across the country, with young Iranians representing all parts of society taking to the streets against the regime’s deceit. The signs carried by the protestors were very specifically directed at the man at the top of the Iranian pyramid, Supreme Leader Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei himself. There is a new generation of Iranians that follows events around the world and, despite heavy censorship carried out by the regime, succeeds in communicating and interacting with the outside world. This is a generation that differs in its thinking from those who participated in the Islamic Revolution, when the regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fell in 1979. This generation demands to have its voice heard and wants to be involved in defining and building its future. It seeks to be an active member of society, not just a silent voice that succumbs to the orders it receives from the top. It believes in the principles of justice and equality, and holds these values above its loyalty to the state and its institutions. The only way in which the Iranian regime can get out of this crisis is by listening to these calls and acting on them. The old tactics of the mullah regime no longer suffice. – Hussein Al-Mustafa (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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