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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Iran: A surprising analysis

Who would have thunk it?

Iran's Regional Ambitions

Implications for Israel, Iraq, and the Gulf States

Amir Taheri

Iran's national interest would be to regard Israel as a strategic ally and partner because Iran does not want a Middle East which is entirely Arab. But the Islamic Republic wants to lead the Muslim world, create an Islamic superpower, and save mankind from a Judeo-Christian conspiracy.
Jerusalem contains the al-Aqsa Mosque, but it is a Sunni mosque. Iranians are Shi'ites and cannot pray there because their prayers would not be accepted. So liberating Jerusalem is a totally useless project from an Iranian religious perspective.

The majority of the Shi'ite clergy, in Iran and elsewhere, are against the Iranian regime. There are more Iranian mullahs in prison today than workers or intellectuals. All of the grand ayatollahs are now bitter enemies of the regime because it is a distortion of Shi'ite theology.

Those who are fighting the regime inside Iran are mostly industrial workers, who have been on strike in many areas. Another group fighting the regime is women, who are very active, especially in hundreds of NGOs. The regular Iranian armed forces, as distinct from the Revolutionary Guards, are also unhappy with the present situation.

The real issue in Iran is how it can find a way to emerge from its revolutionary experience, keep part of it, discard other parts, and really become a nation state. Once Iran has become a nation state, instead of a country devoted to an abstract cause, then it will display normal behavior and not be an existential threat to anybody. 

Continued here

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