Iran – awaiting July 9

Posted in Iran , Broader Middle East , Asia | 03-Jul-03 | Author: Dieter Farwick

July 9 may become a decisive day for the Iran.
In 1999 July 9 was the day the Mullah regime crushed the students’ demonstration with a lot of victims under the students. This year the students started their demonstrations against the regime days ago. It might have been that the regime change in Iraq gave some new hope to a new effort to get rid off the religious dictators. These demonstrations hit the regime on the wrong foot, because the regime is under a lot of pressure from inside and outside. The regime is politically and economically bankrupt. The Prime minister Chatami, by his voters seen as a reformer, has lost a lot of his former credit, because he was not able to carry through necessary reforms against the Mullahs. Their leading figure, Ayatollah Ali Chamenei,
holds the real power firmly in his hand.

Corruption, nepotism, high degree of unemployment – especially with young people – and no longer accepted rigorous religious restrictions in the daily life form a time bomb. The internal pressure is enforced by external pressure. The development of nuclear capabilities form the core of concerns – not just in the USA. There is a world wide suspicion that the nuclear programme, which has been supported by Russia, will not be restricted to civilian energy purposes. Tehran so far does not meet the standards of transparency and publications set by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. USA and recently the EC sent strong signals to Tehran to submit to the rules otherwise they would take the necessary actions to avoid the production of nuclear weapons.

That strong pressure from outside might lead the young demonstrators to the misperception, that they will get military support from outside to achieve the desired regime change. That support is very unlikely and would be wrong at this moment. That regime change must come from the inside. Any possible support should then follow immediately. Anyhow, July 9 will be a real challenge for the regime. The Mullahs cannot accept large demonstrations asking for their demise without any reaction. On the other hand another bloody crush against thousands of demonstrators under the eyes of the whole world would increase the perception in the world, that there is another dictatorship in the region which should be overthrown on behalf of human rights.

That difficult situation gets even worse for the regime looking at the economic support they wish from the EC to mitigate severe economic problems. That will not come after another brutal suppression. The regime seems to be in a no-win situation. It faces hard choices.