Since May 11, 2005

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IRANIAN POLICY IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Internal and external pressure is mounting on the Iranian government to change current policies that are perceived to be inciting regional instability. The origins of the policy fight stem from the early days of the revolution, primarily from the recognized star of that revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Khomeini’s fascist ideology was tempered by his political ambiguity. It is said that he agreed with whomever he was meeting with at the time affording him a great many allies, meanwhile he and his political advisor Ayatollah Beheshti conspired to strip their naïve and unknowing opponents of power. These artificial allegiances and purges set the Iranian stage for continued political decay, constantly weakening the government. This process will continue until the regime finds itself a victim to an opposing force capable of organizing a counterbalance to the Iranian government’s petroleum wealth.

PURGE THE MODERATES, PROMOTE THE FASCISTS: The Iranian government consistently divides itself and each division is analogous in many ways to nuclear half-life. Unfortunately, the Iranian government’s half-life is not observed as decay in the West but as a rebirth to something stronger and more appealing. This is wishful thinking at best. Rafsanjani’s pragmatism, Khatami’s reformism and now Ahmadinejad’s populism, are all permutations of purges. History however shows that totalitarian regimes oust their moderates; the more moderate the opponent, the more violently they oust them. The reigns of power in the hands of fascists propagates elites, not moderates. The evidence of this abounds internally where fascists reign supreme. Externally however, international pressure has made the Iranian government blink (SEE IRAN’S FOREIGN POLICY REACTION.)

IRAN’S DOMESTIC POLICY REACTION: Although citizenry groups are demonstrating against the Iranian government, signs of an ever widening official split abound. The government is shedding its proverbial snake skin in the form of purging diplomats and University professors. After a shakeup in management at The University of Tehran and a series of staff purges there, we see Political Science Professors there bolstering the official line of the Iranian government. The stench of intimidation is so thick in the air at Tehran University that the statements of these professors may in fact indicate the opposite of what they say is more realistic.

IRAN’S FOREIGN POLICY REACTION: Privatization of state institutions is an appeal to the hopes of Western Capitalists who are willing to sacrifice long term returns for short term profit potential. Khamenei’s decree to privatize will divide the international community, half of whom have faith in the more moderate Iranian voices, and the other half who put these most recent events into an historical context. Through the lens of history, moderate Iranian voices may sound appealing but these are the individuals who will fall victim to future purges. While this decree to privatize has come from Khamenei himself, it only serves to define his internal enemies, not establish a path toward moderation.

GLOBAL REACTION TO THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR CRISIS: Iran currently plays a critical role in the petroleum trade and this fact has much to do with the global response to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Instability in Iran directly translates into instability of energy markets. The nuclear crisis therefore has prompted timid responses from the captains of industrialized nations, precisely because those same nations depend on the energy markets Iran wields influence over. International reaction over the next year or so depends as much on Iraqi petroleum production as any other factor. As Iraq’s energy sector boots up, Iran’s influence over energy markets will lessen.

IRANIAN DISSIDENT DISCONTENT OVER INTERNATIONAL TIMIDITY: Career Iranian oppositionists are appalled at the willful delay of resolution these latest nuclear negotiations represent. Most of their attention and frustration appears to target the US, particularly the Bush Administration, for either not embracing regime change as a policy or fully engaging rapprochement with the Iranian regime. Most of these opinions over emphasize the power of the United States to achieve US interests which is primarily to stabilize the Iran crisis. While the US is fully capable of applying enough unilateral pressure to instigate regime change in Iran, the price tag in terms of instability for doing so is too high, for the moment at least. While these dissidents have much to say to American officials, it is these dissidents who wield more influence over stability, before, during and after any regime change scenario. It is they who need to demonstrate the plausibility of stability during any transition in Iran. They must do this in order to convince American officials to support their plan. Anything short of delivering their own convincing and feasible plan to the international community, including US officials, guarantees the continuation of what they perceive to be a frustrating and ambiguous US policy.

THE AMERICAN AND IRAQI INFLUENCE ON THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR CRISIS: Although the situation in Iraq remains turbulent, the US has guaranteed political influence there for the foreseeable future. Among other ambitions, the US will leverage its influence to foster global energy stability. That said, Iran may find itself facing:
  • reduced influence over energy markets
  • a far tougher and confident international community
  • a choice between peacefully giving up its destabilizing policies or face increased political pressure from the international community

CONCLUSION: Conflict between the West and Iran is inevitable. Iranian dissidents will play a major role in the conflict but their role must be in concert with the roles of other forces or they will be sidelined. Right now, time is on the side of West for two reasons. Firstly, Iraq will increasingly offset Iran in terms of energy market influence and second, the Iranian government from its inception exists in a state of constant decay. American officials should begin to consider the American role there to win the peace when Iran’s government finally self implodes.