Iran – what next?

The standoff in Iran between the military-theocratic regime of Ahmadenijad-Khamanei and the opposition parties led by Mir Hussein Mussavi has entered a tense phase. Having so clearly defined their positions and by putting so much at stake neither party can back down easily.

Major Newspapers are writing that predicting how the stand-off is  going to end is not easy.  New York Times has an article, “As Confrontation Deepens, Iran’s Path is Unclear.” The BBC has an article titled, “Titanic clash for Iran’s future,” which ends thus, “They may be arguing over a disputed election. But they are really arguing over the future of the country. A momentous, titanic struggle, whose outcome no-one can predict.”

The common wisdom goes that the ones who have the military and the supreme leader on their side are infallible. However, make no mistake, the hundreds of thousands who are turning out daily to protest for the opposition is not the only reason the opposition is so emboldened this time.

Former President Rafsanjani is the head of the “Assembly of Experts” a group of clergymen who nominate the Supreme leader and also have the power to dismiss the supreme leader. Rafsanjani and Ahmadenijad have deep seated hatred for each other. Ahmadenijad accused Rafsanjani’s family of corruption in public and then went to defeat him at the last Presidential elections supposedly with the help of Khamanei. Rafsanjani is incensed at Khamanei too for he helped him be made the Ayotollah in 1989 only to be left high and dry in favor of Ahmadenijad. Khamanei obviously sided with Ahmadenijad since he saw his survival in allying with the powerful Revolutionary Guards who are deeply loyal to Ahmadenijad.

The Assembly of Experts have other clergy who are deeply disenchanted with both Khamanei and Ahmadenijad and many members have come out and criticized the government’s handling of the elections and the protests.

It will suffice to say that the reason the protesters are in the streets is partly due to the clear fissures that have erupted amongst the powerful for the first time and vice versa.

In this amazing game of chess I will venture to say that neither of two extreme options — silencing of the protesters by force or overthrow of Ahmadenijad is going to happen.

I will go out on a limb and say that I think some kind of power sharing agreement between the two groups will be devised by the time all is said and done.


3 Responses

  1. in fact, we wanna challenge the “legitimation” of supreme leader… but the wall in front of us is not just Military forces, but millions of people who still support this way of administrations. so in don think that something very special happen in fear future, but I’m sure 20 years later, Iran will be so different.

  2. 20 years ago, China was flattening students with tanks.
    I’m not convinced this crisis isn’t just purely economical.

    The real challenge for Iran is to modernize its economy without destructive foreign interventions.

    I’m sure the Russians, the Chinese and even the EU would be willing to help modernizing but Israel and the US will never allow Iran to succeed financially.

    Time Magazine had an interesting article about the White House plans for Iran last month, and sadly, it looks like more of the same destructive regime change nonsense.

    One thing I can tell though, is that the US planners were not expecting this kind of response from the Iranian streets and seem a bit lost.
    Now if Iran would give up its pursuit of nukes, they might have a chance to get somewhere without jeopardizing their culture and heritage.
    Good luck to them.

  3. It may be tempting to wish a happy ending of power-sharing.

    Hope this is not based on similarities with what happened sometime back in Zimbabwe. By similarities, I mean, similarities of brutal authoritarianism, self-serving leader and repressed citizens.
    Zimbabwe is still struggling with delivering on that promise. see

    Also, recent pull back by 1 of 3 challengers to election results underscores reach and speed which which the existing regime and its leader can unleash fear.

    Without a true leader to rally around this may well fizzle out.

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