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April 9th, 2012, by Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi

Assuming the so-called Islamic Republic of Iran is truly attempting to build a nuclear weapon (which I suspect is about as likely as it building a giant sculpture of a pig in the middle of Azadi square), who ought to be most afraid? The United States? Nope. Great Britain? By no means. Israel? Lo. Iraq? La. Afghanistan? Naah. Saudi Arabia? La. In short, not a single one of these nations need be afraid.

So, who should be frightened by Iran? Who should be shaking in their sandals? Iran. Or more specifically, the Iranian people.

Imagine the worst-case scenario: Israel, alone or with international support, bombs Iran. In response, much like Americans did after 9/11, the Iranian people rally around their government. And they do so despite a growing disgust and distrust that millions of them reserve for the regime—particularly since the fraudulent presidential election of 2009. As a result, the regime maintains power for another 30 years. Choosing what they would no doubt consider the lesser of two evils (abuse by Iranians over abuse by outsiders, imperialists), the Iranian people continue to suffer.

Why? Iranians are quick to remind anyone who asks (and many who don’t) that they hail from a glorious 2,500-year-old civilization. As such, they are a ridiculously proud lot. And like most peoples, they don’t appreciate being invaded or told what to do. In effect, they are more willing to suffer at the hands of their own regime than at the hands of foreigners—after all, they have extensive experience with the latter, and it hasn’t turned out so hot for them.

It is the Iranian people who will undoubtedly suffer most from an attack on Iran—not because of the attack itself, but rather because such an attack would foster popular support for the regime, a kind of support that has waned drastically since 2009. Thus, any attack on the allegedly Islamic Republic—whether through overreaching economic sanctions or military intervention—will only weaken the folks most likely to defeat it: the Iranian people.

More than any foreign bombs or threats or sanctions, these people represent the greatest hope for Iran’s future—and not so incidentally, the greatest hope for American, Israeli and European efforts to destroy what they seem to perceive as some great Iranian threat.


No one likes a bully, least of all the proud descendants of a 2,500-year-old civilization (just a reminder in case you forgot). Keeping Iran in check means supporting the opposition movement.

The best way to support the opposition? Stay out. Learn from history. And let them do their work. Let the Iranian people sanction their government. Let the Iranian people bring their regime to its knees. Let the Iranian people reclaim their great nation.

Liberty, justice and independence can never be imposed from the outside. They must be nurtured from within.

View Melody Moezzi’s Global Experts profile.

Melody Moezzi is a member of the British Council’s Our Shared Future Opinion Leaders Network.

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