Rachel Avraham
Rachel AvrahamCourtesy

The United States recently threatened that it is considering all appropriate responses after the Houthis, a proxy of Iran, attacked three commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This latest attack is only one of many examples of how the Islamic Republic of Iran threatens the free world and thus the American threat is way overdue. Let's say it right out: the time has come for the US to wage a full-out struggle against the mullahs in Tehran rather than appeasing them.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country that routinely chants "death to America" and "death to Israel." They have a clock in the center of Tehran that counts down till the destruction of Israel. They also have a nuclear program, which threatens the free world. And Iran has stood beside Hamas as they wage war on the State of Israel, and has even threatened an escalation against the Jewish state in recent days.

In an exclusive interview, prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar stated: "I don’t understand the Americans. How can a country that supports human rights, freedom and being the best, how can the United States be so blind with the most vicious cruel human rights abuser? How come there are no crippling sanctions on such a regime? How come the most powerful country in the world in the world allows such a regime to acquire nuclear weapons? It really puzzled me towards this policy vis a vis Iran. There is no excuse to have such a war machine that seeks to get rid of the world."

He continued: "What do they have that is so powerful? They are no China or Russia. Acting decisively against Iran is the most moral action aiming at crippling the nuclear program of this pariah state. The United States should have led a global campaign against Iran, which would destroy the regime altogether. The United States which leads in human rights and political freedom should have encouraged the minorities in Iran to demand independence and freedom from the oppressing regime in Iran. They know that Iran deserves better, life, better treatment from the world and more considerate policies especially from countries like the US and Western Europe which allegedly support human rights and political freedoms. Every minute which the Western countries allow the Iranian regime to persecute its own citizens, the Western world is actually betraying the citizens of Iran, who want to enjoy freedom just like the citizens of the Western countries."

On November 16, 2023, the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy hosted a webinar titled “Israel and Azerbaijan against Iranian backed religious terrorism.” The event sought to raise awareness about the common threat that Iran and its proxies pose to both Azerbaijan and Israel. At this event, Tarlan Ahmadov, the President and Founder of the Azerbaijani Society of Maine, started out his talk by discussing the history of Azerbaijanis inside of modern Iran, which highlights how Azerbaijani and Turkic peoples went from dominating Iranian society to being an oppressed ethnic group within the country.

“In 1499, the Safavid Empire was established and Azerbaijan was part of the Safavid Kingdom,” he noted. “The Safavid’s were replaced by the Qajars, who ruled for close to two hundred years. The kings of that time had to be a prince of Tabriz, which is the cultural capital city of South Azerbaijan. Then, there was a war and today’s Azerbaijan became a part of the Russian Empire, while the rest of Azerbaijan became what it is now. So, South Azerbaijan is part of today’s Iran. The Qajar Dynasty ceased in the 1920’s and the new Pahlavi dynasty took over. It is then that the Personification and oppression of all of the minorities began, although the Azerbaijani one is the largest one.”

According to him, “35 million plus people have been pushed to give up their identity and the significance of their culture and everything connected to Azerbaijanis is always diminished. The same thing happened under the Islamic Republic of Iran. The discrimination became a governmental policy. This Iranian policy which we have seen over the last 40 plus years is not only about controlling their own country but building their own power. This threat has become huge over the last 20 years. We see the fights Iran has in Iraq and Syria. Iran has become powerful regionally. Having this specific terrorism turns to Israel, Azerbaijan and becomes a threat to the regional security.”

Supporting Palestinian Arab terror groups as they massacre, rape, mutilate and torture Israelis is not the only nefarious activity of Iran. They have essentially built a Shia Crescent that includes Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Gaza, which stretchers to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This Shia Crescent poses a strategic threat not only to Israel but also to the United States and the entire free world, as the recent attack upon the American ships demonstrates.

America and Israel are not the only countries that suffer because of Iran. “Iran threatens the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and our independence. Azerbaijan has been strong in resisting this. Azerbaijan opened up an embassy in Israel. That relationship became stronger than before. The terrorism in Iran supported by the government has become blunt.”

According to him, “Our embassy was attacked in Tehran and we closed our embassy there. There was an assassination attempt of a member of parliament and there was a huge Iranian spy network in Azerbaijan, which threatens us and Israel. They also tried to target the Israeli Embassy in Baku. We are in the same boat as Israel. Being together in this is very important for standing against this governmental terror and the nuclear threat, which harms all of the neighbors."

He added: "We are working very hard with the Jewish community after what happened on October 7. It shocked all of us, but we know all of the proxies of Iran were ready for this for many years. This is a big regional threat and challenge. We will all work together to overcome this challenge.”

Manel Msalmi, an international affairs advisor to the European Parliament, proclaimed in the webinar: “Iran is one of the key destabilizing actors in the Middle East and in Europe. Look at the Ukraine. A lot of arms were sent to Iran to make bombardments in the Ukraine. It created a refugee crisis. They are a threat to Israel. We have the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas in Gaza, etc. Making atomic bombs threaten the security of Europe.”

According to her, “We witness the policy of Iran towards minorities like Mahsa Amini and other Balochi, Kurdish, and Azerbaijani dissidents, who were executed in Iran. What is the answer to these human rights violations? The answer is to support the democratic groups among the opposition especially the Azerbaijani and other non-Persian populations. These populations make up more than 70 percent of Iran. The Azerbaijanis are the largest ones. There were many protests in the Azerbaijani region demanding democracy and political rights. Azerbaijanis, Baloch, Ahwazis and Kurds are denied equal rights and the right to learn their own language. They are a population which are represented as a minority by the regime, but they are not.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran always treated them as second class citizens,” Msalmi declared. “They suffered from trauma for years. They have human rights organizations, media outlets, and organized demonstrations in Brussels, Germany and other areas of Europe. Europe should support these voices and support gender equality for the movement for Women, Life and Freedom and the death of Mahsa Amini shows the regime hates not only non-Persians but women coming from different backgrounds.”

She concluded: “Any cultural activists are arrested and persecuted. The international community should support this movement and fight against the militias in Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza and everywhere. Political dissidents are not safe in Europe. They are kidnapped, targeted and sometimes killed. We witnessed so many cases where political dissidents were targeted and killed. We should stop this ethnic cleansing of non-Persian populations in Iran and give them equal rights and political representation, and say no to forced hijab and yes to women, life and freedom.”

Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”