Saturday, January 9, 2010

Iran: the Regime into a Corner

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Secondo Protocollo United Kingdom / Raghida Dergham

The news from Iran is still in the limelight both in the region and in the world at large, and will continue to be so for some time, given that this internal affair has become an international issue, and since the regime in Tehran has been shaken, while its aura, stature and the absolute powers given to the Supreme Leader seem to have collapsed. Thus, the patience battle has started within Iran between reformists and hardliners, both of whom coming from a social fabric and political acumen that uses patience as a strategy and as a tactic, which in turn is an indication that this battle will drag on. Also, it is now too late for any compromises that may have months ago occurred to the senior officials in the regime, most importantly Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, such as offering Ahmadinejad as a scapegoat in order to put out the fire of the reformist revolution, or “coup” as the word also means in Persian. The page has thus been turned on the idea of the “grand bargain”, whereby the United States, Europe and the rest of world recognize the legitimacy of the ruling regime in Tehran, and offer the latter reassurances and guarantees of not supporting those who challenge the regime or rise up against it. The Iranian leadership’s panic then manifested itself through the oppression by the militias and their brutality against the civilians, while terror was evident on the faces of extremist mullahs and of those individuals who are holding on to the idea of the religious-military monopoly of power in the country.

Moreover, the hitherto overwhelming self-confidence has also been shaken because of economic reasons, amidst the expectations of a large budget deficit that would tie the hands of the regime in what regards its regional ambitions from Iraq, to Palestine and Lebanon, and which would also hinder Tehran’s regional strategy as a result of its inability to spent as it did in the past. Furthermore, the question of imposing further international sanctions against Iran has now entered the implementation stage, as a result of the regime’s irresponsiveness to the “carrot” offered in what regards the nuclear issue and the regime’s insistence on rendering any compromise impossible. As such, these sanctions will be extremely detrimental and harmful to the regime, no matter how hard the latter is trying to give the impression that these sanctions will have no effect, and that it is now impractical to carry on with imposing further sanctions, regardless of Iran’s domestic strife, or in waiting until the picture becomes clearer in what pertains to the current round of the confrontation in Iran. As the world has been observing Iran’s neighbouring region, in light of the internal developments in Iran and the effects these may have in regional issues, the role of Saudi Arabia and Turkey came into the forefront, while attention turned to how Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas will deal with the Iranian incidents, and also to what Israel has in store in what regards Iran, at all levels. (Read more...)