July 21 (UPI) -- Adolf Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" only lasted 12 years. On that basis, the Iranian regime is well past its sell-by date.
The 1979 revolution in Iran, which overthrew the despotic rule of the shah, was quickly hijacked by the mullahs and their psychotic figurehead, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Having promised to restore freedom and democracy, Khomeini quickly reneged on his pledges. Instead of setting up a democratically elected parliament representing the people, he set up an Assembly of Experts, which was essentially made up of clerics.
This assembly vetted all candidates for election and introduced a constitution based on the "velayat-e-faqih" (absolute rule of the clergy). Khomeini gave himself the title of supreme leader and established the Guardians' Council, which holds absolute power and controls everything, including all legislative acts, to ensure they are in accordance to their strict and perverted interpretation of the Koran. Khomeini appointed himself as God's representative on earth, changing Iranian society overnight and giving birth to what is now known as Islamic fundamentalism.
Khomeini's legacy of repression and corruption has been steadfastly maintained ever since. For the past 41 years, the mullahs' revolutionary creed of radicalized Islam in reality boils down to a policy of hatred. Hatred of the West and in particular America, a hatred of Sunnis, a visceral hatred of Saudi Arabia and Israel and a hatred of religious minorities of any kind.
To achieve their constitutional objective of spreading revolution to create a fundamentalist Shi'ite caliphate, the clerical regime has vigorously backed Bashar al-Assad's bloody civil war in Syria; it has trained, financed and commanded the brutal Shi'ia militias in Iraq; it has sponsored the Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen; it has bankrolled and inspired the export of proxy wars and terror throughout the Middle East and the wider world.
Every country the mullahs have targeted is now a smoking ruin. Founded on hatred, this theocratic fascist dictatorship has wrecked the Iranian economy, plundered the people's wealth, ruined the environment and turned this once great nation into an international pariah.
Deploying the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps -- the regime's Gestapo -- the mullahs have unleashed a homicidal blitz on their own population, crushing dissent, wantonly murdering and maiming thousands of peaceful protesters. Iran's jails are bursting at the seams with political prisoners, many of them young students, male and female, arrested during the most recent nationwide uprising in November.
The mullahs' scandalous mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic has seen the death toll soar to over 70,000, with half the population reckoned to be infected. Conditions inside the medieval prisons are horrendous, with COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, while no attempts are made at providing any kind of protection or medical assistance.
Under the mullahs, Iran has achieved pole position as the world's number one executioner on a per capita basis. The main target for arrest, torture and execution is supporters of the principal opposition movement, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), and their families. Over the past four decades, 120,000 of its members and supporters have been executed. Dozens more have been assassinated outside Iran.
In the summer of 1988, the summary execution of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran took place, in an atrocity that surely must rank as one of the most horrific crimes against humanity of the late 20th century. The vast majority of the victims were MEK activists. The mass executions, in jails across Iran, were carried out on the basis of a fatwa by Khomeini.
Today, the mullahs repeatedly blame the MEK and their courageous resistance units that are active in every town and city in Iran for fomenting unrest. The latest wave of arrests and hard prison sentences for PMOI/MEK supporters and their families has laid bare the mullahs' fear of the people, who are seething with rage at their criminal rulers. Iran has become a dangerous powder keg, ready to explode.
In America, it has finally dawned that the only way to restore freedom, democracy and justice for the 80 million Iranian people is to actively encourage regime change. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution demanding action to counter the Iranian regime's threats and recognizing "the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic of Iran."
This bombshell resolution by the U.S. Congress, on top of President Donald Trump's withering "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions, has brought the mullahs to their knees. It is time this reality was also recognized in Europe, where pathetic attempts at appeasing the theocratic regime and propping up the wilting nuclear deal, still prevail.
America must lead the way by providing tangible support to the opponents of the regime. They could start the ball rolling by inviting the charismatic leader of the Iranian opposition -- Maryam Rajavi -- to Washington, where she could address a meeting in the House of Representatives. That would send the clearest possible message to the turbaned tyrants that their behavior is no longer acceptable and their days are numbered.
In addition to taking such steps, Washington should adjust its public diplomacy regarding Iran. U.S. officials should take every opportunity to highlight the regime's human rights abuses and to warn that violators, especially those involved in the use of force to repress popular protests, will be held accountable by the international criminal courts whenever there is a new order in Iran.
At the same time, the United States can do a lot more to counter the theocratic regime's propaganda and to ensure that the truth is made available to the Iranian people. America should make much more use of popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram for this purpose
The United States must also make sure the mullahs pay the highest possible price for their belligerent adventurism in the Middle East. The drone strike against the terrorist Qassem Soleimani was a good start, but with Lebanon now in flames as the Lebanese population finally tires of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, the United States should consider the use of naval and air assets to curb the flow of Iranian supplies to the regime's proxies there, as well as in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
Years of appeasement by successive American administrations has ended. The European Union must follow suit. After 41 years of tyranny, the Iranian regime's sell-by date has expired. The mullahs and their supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have earned their place in the trash can of history alongside Hitler, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot and every other failed tyrant. It is time to say goodbye and good riddance.
Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and is also president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association.