Saturday, March 05, 2005

Will 2005 be THE year in Iran? 

Afshin Molavi writes a letter from Iran:
"Perhaps the most striking thing about anti-Americanism in Iran today is how little of it actually exists. Nearly three-fourths of the Iranians polled in a 2002 survey said they would like their government to restore dialogue with the United States. Though hard-line officials urge 'Death to America' during Friday prayers, most Iranians seem to ignore the propaganda. 'The paradox of Iran is that it just might be the most pro-American—or, perhaps, least anti-American—populace in the Muslim world,' says Karim Sadjadpour, an analyst in Tehran for the International Crisis Group, an advocacy organization for conflict resolution based in Brussels.

"Traveling across Iran over the past five years, I've met many Iranians who said they welcomed the ouster of the American-backed Shah 26 years ago but who were now frustrated by the revolutionary regime's failure to make good on promised political freedoms and economic prosperity. More recently, I've seen Iranians who supported a newer reform movement grow disillusioned after its defeat by hard-liners. Government mismanagement, chronic inflation and unemployment have also contributed to mistrust of the regime and, with it, its anti-Americanism. 'I struggle to make a living,' a Tehran engineer told me. 'The government stifles us, and they want us to believe it is America's fault. I'm not a fool'."
(you can read the whole article in PDF).

2005 might just be the year when the regime in Teheran implodes. Arguably, it probably wouldn't need much push to collapse, and the revolution currently sweeping the region might just provide that extra spark for the Iranian conflagration. In a secret report to the leadership, the Revolutionary Guards Corp is said to have admitted that should rioting in Teheran last longer than six hours, they won't be able to control the situation.

There might not be much that the Free World can do to assist Iran's dissidents and democrats (although I recommend my recent interview with Iran expert Michael Ladeen for some useful ideas and suggestions), but speaking as a child of communism I can say that the most important thing we and our leaders can do is to let people of Iran know that they are not alone, that we support their aspirations, and that their struggle is important to us. When you're facing your oppressors, one of the potentially most demoralizing feelings is that you're alone in the world and no one gives a stuff.

In the meantime check out the latest daily briefing at Regime Change Iran blog.


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