As a leader in a country with great potential, Khamenei has squandered so much.
No one seriously disputes any longer that recent decisions by the Supreme Leader fatally undermined trust in himself and the Islamic Republic. However, the rigged election and its aftermath were inevitable consequence of decisions made earlier where alternative choices could have led to a far different Iran today.
SUPPOSE instead of doing everthing possible to undermine President Khatami's reforms, the Surpeme Leader had encouraged them.
SUPPOSE the Supreme Leader had not allied himself totally with extremists like Yazdi, Ahmed Khatami and Jannati.
SUPPOSE the Supreme Leader had not intentionally concentrated all wealth and power into the hands of the IRCG and Basilj under his full control.
FIVE QUESTIONS IRANIANS ARE ASKING:
1. HOW CAN THE SUPREME LEADER BE SO BLIND TO CONSEQUENCES?
Isolated from reality and surrounded by "yes men," Khamenei resembles the legendary King Canute who thought he could stop the waves by royal command. Instead of taking positive steps to address the current crisis, his "solution" is more of what created his problems--more censorship, more brutality, more blatant coverups. What might have satisfied the people in mid-June (a new and fair election) will no longer molify. The Supreme Leader seems blissfully unaware that he is sitting on a volcano created by his own obstinacy.
If this unprecedented crisis was solely economic in nature, the situation would be bad enough. On that aspect see:
Two things especially stand out for this reader. First, the only period in which the Islamic Republic experienced consistent growth was during President Khatami's reforms (no coincidence). Secondly, for every step the study recommends to solve Iran's economic problems, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad seem to favor the exact opposite.
Naturally any regime that facing impending economic catastrophe can expect substantial discontent. But what happens when economic hardships coincide with immense political, personal and social grievances? That question goes double when 70 percent of the population is under 30, sophisticated, educated and informed, totally frustrated and fully aware both of their own country's vast potential and of how well young Iranian counterparts living live compared to themselves. So it is that repeated applications of old-fashioned, Soviet-style propanganda fail to persuade most Iranians either that they live in paradise or must accept the unacceptable. Iran is not the USSR in the thirties or Myanamar and South Korea in the present.
2. COULD SO MANY AWFUL CRIMES OCCUR WITHOUT KHAMENEI'S APPROVAL?
Why not argue that Stalin was unaware of gulags or Hitler of concentration camps. Absolute leaders behave like absolute leaders. Khamenei's control over the judiciary, the IRCG, the Basilj, the Interior Ministry (responsible for counting ballots) and the prisons is so great he had assent to everything. At every point, he had the power to say "Stop!"and enforce it. Those who would put all the blame on Ahmadinejad, a willing tool, are mistaken. You may as well argue that Stalin's crimes against his own people were totally the ffault of Dherzinski, Yeshov, Yadoga and Beria.
If Khamenei's recent crimes have one positive effect, it is that they've encouraged open prodding into his past crimes----those that occurred well before anyone ever heard of Ahmadinejad. What the Iranian people have discoverd is that those crimes were even more extensive and more brutal than what we see today. There is nothing moral or respectable about Khamenei--no more than Joseph Stalin.
If Khamenei now should attempt to claim he opposed the arbitary arrests, beatings, show trials, press censorship, imprisonments and coverupsl, first consider his past behavior. They how he allows the same perpetrators to enjoy a free hand even now. Every day reformers suffer preventive detention. Even the children and grandchildren of top ayatollahs are snatched up like bananas and taken hostage for daring to criticize. Who allows all this if not the Supreme Leader?
3. HOW CAN AN IMMORAL LEADER CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR ISLAM?
Considering present economic, social, judicial and political conditions, why would Iranians need conniving politivians, foreign spies or outside media to stir people up. The Supreme Leader knows full well such charges are total nonsense. They merely serve as a pretext to justify the rape, torture and murder anyone who complains. Indeed, dissidents can be charged with "crimes against Allah," a capital crime.
4. CAN KHAMENEI WIN BACK THE PEOPLE'S TRUST?
Only if knowledge of the regimes crimes were not so widespread and with no end of such crimes anywhere in sight.
5. CAN KHAMENEI STILL KEEP THE CAT IN THE BAG?
Too late. By now all attempts at censorhip, intimidation, coverups and placing blaming outsiders simply undermines Khamenei's credibility further and leads to mockery. The worst rumors will become "fact" where there is no widely trusted and completely independent source to rebut and no one trusts the state media, regime spokesmen or Khamenei himself to tell the truth about anything. Today nine out of 10 Iranians would trust Karoubbi's word before they'd believe anything Khamenei has to say.
Whatever the regime does anymore seems to backfire. When Khamenei imprisons and tortures people, the survivors describe what horrors they endured. When bodies are dumped into mass graves, someone squeals. When wounds are hidden and bodies burned, medical personnel speak up. When new arrests of innocents occur, the people learn of it immediately. If colleges remain open, the students protest. If colleges are closed, students return to every little town in Iran where they spread word of what Khamenei is up to.
Meanwhile old-fashioned social networks merge with modern technology and an all-too-receptive public to spread word of every new regime outrage. People learn via the underground press (compiled and distributed by endless volunteers the regime "created"). People learn via satellite TV, via the internet, via phone calls to family abroad. Above all, people in the smallest towns learn from what they see and hear directly when hardliners bus them into cities to "counter-demonstrate."
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