On Point: Iran: Bombast, Revolt and Bombs

by Austin Bay
February 2, 2010

In a recentpropaganda rant, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed to deal "atelling blow against global arrogance" on Feb. 11, the day Tehran's malignantmullahs celebrate the 31st anniversary of their Ayatollah Khomeini-led Islamicrevolution, which toppled Iran's Shah.

In thelingo of Iran's dictators, "global arrogance" describes the behaviorof many enemies, including Western Europeans and the U.N. Security Council(when it employs sanctions to curb Iran's nuke quest). As for "a tellingblow," given Ahmadinejad's penchant for exaggeration, a blow could meananother televised diatribe (bombast) or the terrifying revelation that mullahspossess a nuclear weapon.

We can, ofcourse, ultimately count on Ahmadinejad or another mouthy despot to specifyAmerica as a source of truly world-girdling arrogance. Khomeini dubbed America"The Great Satan," and damning America remains essential Khomeinistliturgy. It definitely troubles Tehran's wicked turbans that 31 years afterKhomeini's condemnation America still exists and even occasionally defies them.Last month, Ahmadinejad yet again prophesied an "end to Americancivilization" and the American "system."

Events inIran, however, strongly indicate Iran's repugnant regime is far more fragilethan America.

"GreenMovement" opponents of the dictatorship intend to stage massdemonstrations on Feb. 11 throughout Iran. The Green Movement anti-regimecampaign sprang to life in the wake of Iran's disputed June 2009 elections.

Theregime's Revolutionary Guard militia has threatened to stop the protestors,whom the mullahs call "foreign agents." The activists demand fairelections, a tyranny-shattering concept the clerics claim must be inspired byAmerica.

In a columnpublished in late June 2009, as the post-election demonstrations began to wane,I wrote that Iran had entered "Limbo, an uncertain yet perilous period oftime separating anger-driven demonstrations from either bloody tyrannicalrepression or sustained popular struggle producing a liberalizingrevolution."

Sevenmonths later, the Green Movement is definitely a sustained popular struggle,though not quite a systemic revolt. The movement is no monolith, but adisparate collection of groups. It has reformists (who support extensive, rapidreform), incrementalists (who favor certain reforms) and radicals of all sorts(some promoting Western-style democracy). The factions, however, are alloutraged by the endemic theft and corruption of the Khomeinist elites anddismayed by Iran's insistently stagnant economy. Concern over the growingpolitical and economic clout of the Revolutionary Guard Corps also unites them.

A revivedIranian nationalism, one decoupled from the Ayatollah Khomeini, is anotherpotential glue. Movement leaders have discussed changing the nation's name fromthe Khomeinists' Islamic Republic of Iran to simply the Iranian Republic. Whilea name change may appear superficial, when so many Iranians feel cheated,exploited and excluded by Khomeini's heirs, its implications are immense.

An appealto a "new nationalism" may be behind opposition leader Mir HosseinMoussavi's statement this week that "the current political situation inIran indicates the presence of the remaining roots of tyranny and dictatorshipof the Shah." Moussavi declared, "I don't believe that the revolutionachieved its goals."

Meanwhile,America and its allies continue to try to deny the mullahs a nuclear bomb and preventa telling blow from striking vulnerable nations. The U.S. announced thedeployment of eight advanced Patriot anti-missile missile batteries to Kuwait,Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. U.S. Navy Aegis ships withStandard-3 anti-ballistic missiles are also in the Persian Gulf.

These newdeployments, and suggestions by U.S. officials that Iranian nuclear facilitiescan be targeted, mark what diplomats call "a change in tone."Anti-Americans will call these deployments arrogant -- I call them sensible andlong overdue.

Let's hopethis "change" signals the end of the Obama administration's haplessspate of stupid Middle Eastern diplomacy, which included his "nopre-conditions" promise to the mullahs regarding negotiations and his June2009 groveling apology from America. Obama delivered that tyrant andterrorist-inflating hooey a week before the Iranian elections. If Obama reallywants to end the mullahs' bomb quest, he should support Iran's opposition. Thatmeans supporting regime change -- in Tehran. 

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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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