by Menashe Amir
"Trump's name should be written out in gold letters upon the stars in the sky," one Iranian citizen said.
The Iranian regime may have blocked popular messaging apps to prevent citizens from connecting with one another and to curb the flow of news, photos and videos out of Iran, but global news outlets, broadcasting in Farsi, are obtaining thousands of responses from Iran on a daily basis.
Most of the latest messages are expressions of gratitude and appreciation for U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, and expectations that the U.S. will help the Iranian people topple the oppressive regime.
"Trump's name should be written out in gold letters upon the stars in the sky," one Iranian citizen said. Another citizen remarked that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali "Khamenei threatened to set fire to the nuclear agreement if the U.S. decides to withdraw form it. Why is he suddenly hesitating?"
All the messages are anonymous or made under assumed identities, because of general fear of the regime.
Here are a few more examples: "The honorable supreme leader: Perhaps Trump is the messiah that Shiite Muslims have waited so long to welcome!" and "We are willing to withstand any kind of suffering as long as it provides hope of toppling the regime of oppression."
Hundreds of messages of this nature have been posted on Farsi-language websites and media outlets outside Iran since Trump announced the U.S.'s withdrawal from the nuclear accord on Tuesday.
One Iranian gave his analysis of the situation by phone to a friend in German, saying that "everything is ready for the resumption of the popular uprising, whose aim this time will be to topple the regime." He spoke about the economic hardships in his country and surmised that renewed sanctions would permanently destroy most of the republic's economic mechanisms.
And indeed, the local currency fell by half in a matter of days.
When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini rose to power 39 years ago, for example, the dollar was worth seven Iranian rials. Today, it is traded at tens of thousands of percentages more, with one dollar worth over 40,000 rials. Even at this price, however, it is virtually impossible to find even one dollar in Iran.
Another Iranian told relatives abroad that he had to close his import store in Tehran. The spike in foreign currency exchange rates was so drastic that he can no longer import products and command any kind of profit.
It is believed that the vast majority of Iranians support a regime change, although they know the price is steep and many will likely be sacrificed. They see the reality in Syria and are deterred by the large number of casualties incurred in the failed uprising there. They complain about the absence of a worthy leader who would unite and command the resistance movement. They expect real and serious assistance from the U.S. and welcome any pressure Trump can exert on the regime.
If some of the thousands of messages appear to support the Iranian regime, it is likely because they were written by Iran's cyber soldiers, tasked with disseminating pro-regime propaganda on social media around the world.
One Iranian, possibly an Iranian soldier in a cyber unit, said that "the only countries that support Trump's policy are Saudi Arabia, which backs terrorism; Israel, which continually commits crimes against the Palestinian people; and a handful of emirates that are essentially Saudi satellites."
Menashe Amir is an expert on Iranian affairs and former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's Persian language division.
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