An Iranian proverb: When Trump gets elected, the cows butt heads in Tehran
Early hours of Wednesday, November 8. The sun has just started shining on the Gulf. It is early morning in Tehran and other parts of Iran, but it is Tuesday evening across the United States. The American people, as well as other nations, are still waiting for the news media to introduce the next occupant of the White house. Whether the next U.S. president is he or she is yet a guess.
In Iran, however, a smiling picture of Hillary Clinton appears on some of the capital's morning newspapers, reporting that she has become the first female president of the United States. It seems that her presidency lasts for only a few hours – as soon as the results come out, these papers are collected from stalls to be substituted with a new edition, this time with a smiley picture of Donald Trump.
Is it a mistake? A tragedy, or even a joke? Or maybe all of them? Nobody knows, but it is the reality of Iran's political life. Just like many other events, the U.S. presidential election becomes a source of conflict within the system.
Iran has been a main issue in the U.S. election campaigns. Both sides tried to show their distance from the ayatollahs. Trump, for example, said he will tear up the final nuclear deal.
Iranians say, "When the soil gets tough, cows butt heads." That is exactly what is happening in Iran now. Four decades ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could disguise himself as a Muslim leader and enjoy people's trust. That figure no longer has any buyers in Iran or elsewhere. The regime in Iran is now in its weakest position ever. Not a single day passes without a few anti-government protests here and there. The government's fear of being knocked down by the people is real. Each faction in the system needs to cling to outsiders – to governments, politicians, and businessmen.
Sadiq Ziba Kalam, a university professor in Tehran and a rhetorician of the mullahs, said in a recent interview with state newspaper Nassim Online, "It won't be long before the day comes that many in Iran will hold a torch looking for the time that Mr. Obama headed the White House and Mr. John Kerry held the position of U.S. secretary of state. That day they will realize what good old days it was when they could come to an understanding with the United States, to go for compromise, but we, in Iran, lost that golden opportunity."
Years of appeasing the Iranian regime, particularly by the United States, have given the mullahs the opportunity to get closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb. Rouhani's government augmented Iran's executions and flagrant abuses of human rights inside and support of terrorist groups outside the country. Mr. Trump should stand against Iran's aggressiveness as promised during his election campaign. The language understood by Iran's ayatollahs is to stand firm. Mollifying the terrorists will only encourage them to cause more pain for our societies.
As the Iranian people's struggle for democracy and regime change peaks anew, it is time for politicians in the U.S. and Europe to recognize the dangers the fundamentalist regime of Iran poses to the nation's people and to the rest of the world. The Iranian people deserve to live in peace and democracy. They keep pushing the cows at the top to head-butt each other more and more to their end.
Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and social media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.