How the U.S. Can Help the Iranian People While Preventing a Nuclear Crisis

Five weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s police, anti-regime demonstrations within the country have only grown more intense. Amos Yadlin and Joel Zamel call on Western governments, along with private and civic institutions, to do what they can to help the protesters, and explain what might be done:

Despite the $750 billion U.S. defense budget, there has been limited investment in information campaigns, civil resistance training, strengthening of alternative leadership, and a wide range of other tools to empower the Iranian people.

Two parallel issues, the Iranian regime’s survival and its nuclear program, are beginning to intersect. The latter has occupied the world’s attention for the past twenty years while the former has occupied the international community since the 1979 revolution that saw the rise of Iran’s radical Islamic regime.

[One way to respond to Tehran’s attempt to attain nuclear weapons], which the West has been reluctant to support, has been to push for regime change by helping the Iranian people overthrow their oppressors, through any non-violent means necessary. . . . This option has been discarded by leadership circles around the world, leaving Iranian dissidents and human-rights activists stranded on the sidelines of history for the past 40 years. It is not only morally abhorrent to abandon freedom fighters from what was once a great civilization, but also strategically unwise.

Regime change does not have to mean military force; rather an intentional effort to utilize [non-military] means to strengthen and support the opposition to liberate their country. . . . That a free and democratic Iran would be optimal for U.S. foreign policy is something that can be agreed on across America’s political spectrum, yet this objective remains absent from ongoing debates.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Human Rights, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy

Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security