Street protests have erupted across Iran with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to call for the end of the Islamic Republic, which has imposed its will on the Iranian people since the 1979 revolution. The specific grievances of the protesters include a weak economy and Iranian military adventures in Iraq and Syria. Despite the ill-considered nuclear arms deal struck with the Obama administration that involved the transfer of nearly $200 billion in seized assets and the easing of economic sanctions, the Iranian people have seen little if any benefit. A report by FOX News presented most of the facts used in this article.

The Iranian government has responded to the protests by attacking the dissidents with police and armed militias.

More recently, the Tehran regime has countered with pro-government demonstrations. Nevertheless, the protests are the largest since the so-called “green movement” of 2009-2010 and reflect the seething discontent that most Iranians feel toward the theocratic government.

An opportunity for the Trump administration?

President Obama was so eager to come to an agreement with Tehran that he turned his back on the green movement protestors even when they begged America for help. President Trump has had the opposite reaction. Not only has the State Department issued a communique expressing support for the protestors but Trump himself has taken to Twitter to offer his personal support.

Nevertheless, there may be little the United States can do besides offer moral support for the Iranian people, at least in the short term.

The regime has all of the guns and in the past had not shown inhibitions about using armed force to suppress threats to its power. Iranians do not seem inclined, as of yet, to engage in armed rebellion, confining themselves to peaceful protests.

Western media were taken by surprise by the uprising

As Commentary points out, the media in the West seems to have been caught by surprise by the extent of the protests. A few weeks ago, the New York Times claimed that President Trump and the Saudis had driven the Iranian people to support the regime. Despite some of the orchestrated pro-government rallies, that evaluation has been proven to be wide of the mark.

It would be to the advantage of not only the Iranian people but the entire world if they somehow managed to throw off the Islamic regime and established a pro-western democracy. The Tehran government not only foments terrorism and threatens the world with their nuclear weapons and missile program, but has crushed the aspirations of the Iranian people to live in a normal society with freedom and respect for human rights.

How one gets to that happy outcome is an open question, however.