Raisi’s Death Foreshadows Trouble for Iran’s Dictatorship

Distinguished Fellow
Forty-Eighth Vice President of the United States
Mourners attend the funeral of Iran's President in Tehran on May 22, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
Mourners attend the funeral of Iran's president in Tehran on May 22, 2024. (Hadis Faghiri/Fars News Agency via Getty Images)

The unexpected death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash should remind the world that no oppressive regime can last forever, as they are intrinsically unstable. Just as the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own sins, so too will this be the ultimate fate of the tyrannical regime in Tehran.

As the leader of the free world, the United States must be prepared when that day inevitably arrives – and that requires supporting the courageous Iranian citizens who continue to resist the regime from within.

Raisi was a mass murderer responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of political prisoners and protestors over the past forty years, and helped the regime spread terrorist violence across the region. His appointment as president in 2021 was widely viewed as a sign of the regime’s growing frustration at its inability to quell growing dissent within its own borders.

Despite Raisi’s bloody crackdown, the resistance only grew stronger during his time in power. In fact, in recent years the resistance mounted the largest and most sustained anti-establishment demonstrations since 1979. Thousands of teachers, workers, retirees, and students courageously took to the streets across the country, demanding change.

But if there’s one thing America and her allies should have learned by now, it is that the Iranian regime is incapable of moderating on its own. Every olive branch extended by Western nations over the past four decades has been snapped in two. Tehran cannot be “nudged” in the right direction by the naïve left running the Biden administration, just as they were undeterred by the same cast of characters in the Obama administration.

On the contrary, only a campaign of maximum pressure can change the future of Iran. We know that maximum pressure works, because we helped implement such a campaign during our time in the Trump-Pence administration. An effective U.S. policy must include imposing crippling sanctions on Iran’s leadership, punishing the regime for its support of terrorism abroad, and vigorously enforcing sanctions to shut down Iranian oil exports. At the same time, American policy must acknowledge and find ways to support the Iranian resistance that continues to oppose the regime from within.

Most importantly, President Biden should make it clear that Iran will pay a steep price if it continues to escalate the war in Israel through its terrorist proxies in Gaza, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere. And instead of demanding arbitrary limitations on Israel’s military response to Hamas’ terrorist attack, the president should fully support Israel’s effort to eradicate Hamas in the south and secure her border from Hezbollah in the north.

We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iran can be a great nation once again. We know the rich history of Iran, which stretches back to time immemorial, is the story of a people who have made timeless and invaluable contributions to art, music, literature, science, and commerce. We know the vast untapped potential of the Iranian people, who possess the ingenuity, resilience, and spirit necessary to build a prosperous and free society.

If America’s leaders renew our commitment to maintaining maximum pressure on Tehran while supporting the Iranian resistance, we believe that the day will soon come when the unelected ayatollahs release their iron-fisted grip on Iran and her people. A new glorious day will dawn, ushering in an era of peace, prosperity, stability, and freedom for the good people of Iran and a bright future for the wider world.

Read the full article in RealClearPolitics.