In the face of protests, Iran's leaders are at an impasse
Washington Post / Ray Takeyh
31-Dec-2009 (one comment)

The mayhem that has swept over Iran in the past few days is once more calling into question the Islamic Republic's longevity. Recent events are eerily reminiscent of the revolution that displaced the monarchy in 1979: A fragmented, illegitimate state led by cruel yet indecisive men is suddenly confronting an opposition movement that it cannot fully apprehend. It is premature to proclaim the immediate demise of the theocratic regime. Iran may well be entering a prolonged period of chaos and violence. In the aftermath of recent disturbances, however, it is obvious that the lifespan of the Islamic Republic has been considerably shortened.
In retrospect, the regime's most momentous, and disastrous, decision was its refusal to offer any compromises to an angered nation after the fraudulent presidential election in June. The modest demands of establishment figures such as Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, including for the release of political prisoners and restoring popular trust (via measures such as respecting the rule of law and opening up the media), was dismissed by an arrogant regime confident of its power.
Disillusioned elites and protesters who had taken to the streets could have been unified, or their resentment assuaged, by a pledge by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for the next election to be free and fair, for government to become more inclusive or for limits to be imposed on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's prerogatives. Today, such concessions would... >>>

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Welcome to reality, Ray

by Fred on

It is refreshing to see another lets-cut-a-deal-the-regime-is-here-to-stay talking head is backtracking.

For a change the champion of no sanctions, he calls it “economic pressure”,  more business would do the trick a la clueless Roger is talking sense. Welcome to the real world Ray.