I don’t know whether it’s time just yet for someone, anyone to bomb Iran. But it’s been quite a few years since the wise folk in the strategy profession have been saying “sanctions need time.” This sounds very reassuring unless, of course, Tehran’s nuclear option beats out Tehran’s financial collapse. Just how much economic pain will the world’s self-appointed moral monitors permit even a repellent and perilous Islamic power to endure until all the strings of conscience are played and the will to act is foreclosed.
A long simmering rift between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, has finally boiled over. For the last two weeks, the two leaders have been locked in a public battle over Ahmadinejad’s decision to fire his minister of intelligence, a close ally of Khamenei. And, in spite of indications in the last few days that a compromise has been reached—not to mention Khamenei’s repeated pleas that factional feuds be kept out of the media lest the dispute embolden foes and dishearten friends—acrimonious attacks by both sides have continued apace.
Not since Saddam Hussein’s regime was demolished in 2003 has an Arab head of state run a more ruthlessly repressive terror state than Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Tunisia’s Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak were small-government libertarians by comparison.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the United Nations and his utterances elsewhere in New York are, again, proof that the Marxist-Islamist Molotov cocktail that produced the Islamic revolution is rebelliously alive among Iran’s ruling elite. Most of my Iranian friends have an extremely hard time watching the man speak. He uses religious language and allusion constantly, more so than any political figure in the Saudi royal family—the only other religio-political missionary–enamored elite in the Muslim world.
MEMRI is the most authoritative source on news from the western Maghreb to Pakistan, concentrating on the Middle East and western Asia. It publishes a daily blog on Iran. Here is today’s: Iran - June 18, 2010 The following is research published today from the MEMRI Iran Studies Project (www.memri.org/content/en/country.htm?country=iran), including reports from the Special Dispatch Series, the MEMRI TV Project, and the MEMRI Iran Blog. Special Dispatch No. 3043 – Iran/Lantos Archives on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial/U.S.
The last few months have seen a disquieting lull in news of political dissent from Iran. On the surface, at least, Ahmadinejad’s government seems to have outlasted the furor that erupted in the wake of last June’s election. Does this mean that the Green Movement is dead? Not necessarily.
Imagine for a moment that it is late 2010, perhaps a few weeks after the midterm elections. Barack Obama has scheduled a surprise prime-time televised statement from the Oval Office. Looking grave, even shaken, behind the presidential desk, Obama fixes his gaze into the camera and speaks: When I said that it would be unacceptable for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, I meant it. Over the past several months, it has become clear that neither engagement nor isolation and sanctions have slowed Iran’s determination to build a bomb.
Traditional Iranian husbands, the sort found in the highest ranks of the Islamic Republic, sometimes refer to their wives as “the house.” For them, this is not just an expression of their understanding of gender relations. It is viewed as a necessary euphemism, vital protection for a woman’s honor. The mere uttering of her name, after all, might compromise her chastity. It is telling, therefore, that Mir Hossein Mousavi courted and eventually married Zahra Rahnavard.
Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.