Killing a Terrorist Does Not Stop Terrorism


By M. Parvin

January 6, 2020 

On June 28, 1981, seventy-two high officials of Islamic Regime in Iran (IRI), including Chief Justice ayatollah Beheshti who was the second most powerful figure after Khomeini died in the bombing at a party meeting in Tehran. These killings were followed by the assignation of President Rajai and Prime Minister Javad Bahonar in a meeting of the Supreme Defense Council on August 30, 1981 [1]. 

The system of terror governing Iran was not affected by the assignation of all these influential figures at all. They have continued the repression of the freedom-loving Iranian, have expanded their influence in the region, and have survived the threats and sanctions by western countries. 

Killing Ghasem Soleimani, the head of Quds force and deputy head of Iraq paramilitary forces by Trump's order on January 3, 2020, will not have any effect on the extent of the regime's capabilities and terrorist activities. Islamic Regime is not short of terrorists like Soleimani. Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who replaced him, has already pledged to take revenge. His threat was followed by Iraq's parliament vote to expel all American troops from Iraq. Moving the U.S. forces out of Iraq was one of Soleimani's primary goals.  

In short, it does not improve the behavior of this bloody regime at all. On the contrary, it will give the Islamic Regime the excuse to repress the Iranian opposition harsher, divide the western countries more in their foreign policy approaches, and make more violent actions wherever and whenever possible and get more credit from the terrorist groups all over the world for confronting the U.S.  

The U.S. assassination has also benefited IRI immensely inside Iran. In mid-November 2019, scattered protests over an increase in gasoline prices quickly spread into one of the biggest challenges to Iran's clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The unrest in several cities reached the capital Tehran soon, with people calling for an end to the Islamic Regime. The exact number of people killed is not yet verified. Based on the information provided to Reuters by two Iranian officials, about 1,500 people were killed during unrest that started on November 15 [2]. The number reported by the Human Rights Organizations is smaller. 

As a result of the Soleimani's assassination, the death of the protesters that could escalate more massive action has not only come to rest but has pulled at least some of them to show their concern about the Trump's war threat. None of these protesters wouldn't care for Soleimani's death if it did not raise the possibility of a deadly war. And, this is another big gift given to the bloody regime in Iran by Trump. 

Trump's gift to the Islamic Regime goes is countless. There are several groups, including AIC (American Iranian Council) and NIAC (National Iranian American Council) in the U.S. that have been rooting and lobbying for unconditional recognition of the Islamic Regime [3]. These groups that have used their financial resources to influence the U.S. media and politicians have now found a valuable opportunity to escalate their effort. As usual, they are doing it under the banner of "war or peace." The misinformed media and ignorant politicians have also fallen into this trap. And last but not least, interest-driven companies represented by politicians have always been for the "war or peace" scenario because either way, it would enhance their trades with IRI. 

The uninformed American people who are naturally rallying for the "peace," are practically supporting what the lobby regimes advocate. They hear that since "war" is terrible and does not serve their interest, they should root for peace with IRI, meaning closing their eyes to all its human rights abuses against Iranians.  

AS U.S. media is reporting the assassination of Soleimani's aftermath in Iran, we read and hear that "Iranians" have come to streets to mourn his death. This assertion is false. The majority of the Iranians are against the entire regime and all its members. However, this does not mean that they want war. They are wise enough to learn their lessons from the disastrous results of military invasions in many struggling countries including, Iraq, Egypt, and Libya, to know that military attacks by the foreigners cannot bring democracy to Iran. 

So, yes, they are against the war but are not crying for the death of Suleiman's death. Those who are doing so are only the supporters of Hezbollah, Islamic Military Guard Corps, Basij, Guds force, who are not the majority of Iranians. Thus, the media approach that wrongly describes the reactions of Iranians is giving boosts to IRI and is another significant gift to dictators as a result of this assassination. 

The U.S. politicians that are currently against this attack and future military actions do not offer any practical options and are essentially helping the survival of this regime by vaguely appealing to peace and negotiations. Based on their record, this means giving full recognition to this regime and removing all the sanctions just by placing some limits on its atomic activities. This approach has been taken by both Republicans and Democrats. The only difference has been that Republicans have been using the threat of military actions and Democrats negotiations to achieve a mutual gold. What has always been forgotten has been Iranians whose struggle for democracy has been demolished by the IRI. Of course, human rights have been in conversation and on the negotiation tables like a decorating vase of flowers but have never had any practical role whatsoever in the negotiation offers or threats. 

There is a much more viable option in dealing with the religious dictatorship in Iran that has been referred to as "Third Option" [4]. 

The third option is empowering Iranian people to overthrow this regime by applying a smart sanction. Smart sanction has been exercised successfully in countries such as South Africa does not require any foreign interference or military intervention. Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth testified before the U.S. Senate Task Force on Economic Sanctions, on September 8, 1998, that eventually resulted in a smart sanction imposed on South Africa [5].  

Smart sanction deprives the terrorist regimes of easy access to military equipment, spying tools, etc. It does not apply any significant economic pressure on Iranians, and even if it does, to some degree, it would be acceptable to the freedom-loving Iranians in Iran. A smart sanction will empower their disobedience fight to overthrow the dictatorship and replace it with a democratic system. It is a long process but is the only way that excludes the war-recognition" option and can bring peace to Iran [6].  

The condition of stopping the human rights violation should be placed as another condition along with the atomic condition for removing the smart sanction. The Islamic regime will most probably won't accept this condition. However, it will eventually pay for it by being forced to yielding to the civil disobedient fight of the empowered Iranians. 

Thus, if Trump knew a little about the nature of the regime ruling in Iran, he would know that killing a terrorist would not stop terrorism. Of course, it can disturb the impeachment process!  


1.     Assassination of Mohammad Ali Rajai Iran's President, New York Times

2.     Report by Reuters

3.     Using "Human Rights" to better serve a dictatorship, by M. Parvin

4.     The Clergy Challenge, by M. Parvin

5.     Excerpts testimony of Kenneth Roth, HRW Executive Director before U.S. Senate

6.     How to End the Era of Terror in Iran, by M. Parvin


Mohammad Parvin, Ph.D., is a former faculty member of California Institute of Technology and an adjunct professor at the California State University, and Founding Director of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR)

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