Iran’s power posturing is designed to disguise the fact that the country is weakening from within.
The recent unrest in Iran has confirmed what many attuned to domestic conditions in the Islamic Republic have long known: that an explosion was not a matter of if, but of when.
The destructive reach of the Islamic Republic of Iran from Africa to South America and via Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq is hardly disputed. Yet this destructive influence serves the hesitance of many in the West to confront what appears as a strong and threatening regime. The riots and demonstration may have faded – but not the realities that created them. And this might provide an important policy lesson: Islamic regime’s power posturing is designed to hide its true weaknesses.
Iran’s economy is in shambles. The days of high oil prices are long gone, and national resources are almost depleted. Despite the JCPOA – an agreement aimed at opening the Iranian market to international investors – Iran’s economy remains in stagflation, with very little prospects for improvement in sight. Iran’s military is over-extended in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, putting further strain on the limited available resources. Inefficient economic policies and endemic corruption waists the rest of the available resources leaving very little for the masses.
In the months and weeks leading up to the current protests, thousands had already taken to the streets in most major cities in the country, demanding an answer to these deficiencies and corruptions.
A day after mid-term election in which American voters appeared to have challenged the President and its leadership, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that President Obama sent a secret letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, Islamic Regime’s supreme leader. This was apparently the fourth letter in a series of secret exchanges Obama has had with Khamenei since taking office.
According to WSJ, President Obama secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader last month describing a “shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.” Although it took another week for Iran to officially acknowledge the letter, Khamenei hinted of the exchange in his Nov. 3 speech on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution: “The new U.S. President made some beautiful comments. He also repeatedly asked us in writing and orally to turn a new page and help him change the present situation. He asked us to cooperate with him to solve global issues.” View full post…
When word of the Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir hit the news, many reacted with skepticism. For some western observers, the fact that an Islamic regime cooperated with Mexican drug traffickers, and the seemingly clumsy nature of the whole operation, cast doubt on the validity of the Obama administration’s claims. Amid the intense debate on Iranian intent and given past US intelligence failures and Iranian denials, this conclusion may appear inevitable. But is it?
Iran is located on one of the most important opium transit corridors, between producers in Afghanistan and consumers in Europe and beyond. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that nearly 60% of Afghanistan’s opium is trafficked across Iran’s border, and a large portion is seized by the Iranian government.
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Nir Boms and Shayan Arya
The Australian, January 14, 2010
AYATOLLAH Ruhollah Khomeini established his Islamic regime on the premise of velayet-e faqih, the undisputed moral and religious authority of the supreme leader as a successor to the prophet Mohammed and the infallible Shia imams.
This premise was set to justify and guarantee the survival of the system he created. Undisputed authority, he thought, with a back-up from Allah, cannot be challenged. But as events in Iran unfold, it becomes clear this is no longer the case. Not only is the leader challenged but also his self-ascribed monopoly on God.
Khomeini’s successor Ali Khamenei never enjoyed the religious and moral authority of his predecessor. Khamenei, a mid-level cleric (hojatoleslam) who had never completed a resaleye amalie (equivalent to a PhD dissertation for Shia religious students), ascended to the rank of grand ayatollah within three months. He began his career by putting his rival, grand ayatollah Hosein Ali Montazeri, under house arrest.
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