The Iranian Regime's Numbered Days
Forbes / Melik Kaylan
18-Jul-2010 (6 comments)

As I have said here before in this column, the cleanest option for liberating Iran lies within Iran itself. The various other scenarios--the U.S. military option, the Israeli military option, international sanctions--have been exhaustively debated and found, if not impossible, imperfect owing to the collateral costs, and perhaps ineffectual. Sanctions, at least in the short term, will enrich and empower the ruling elite. Military action will spur Iranian authorities to retaliate in Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly block oil transit in the straits of Hormuz and destabilize the world economy. But if Iran's nuclear plans can be delayed, time is against the regime because of building domestic pressure.

There's a terrific July 14 exegesis in the New Republic on one method of delay: Letting Iran acquire sabotaged nuke hardware. The West has, for some time, run a coordinated campaign against Tehran's program, sowing enough damage, doubt and confusion to slow things down. Here's one of several examples cited in the article:

"Efforts to steer defective products toward Iran have taken a number of forms. For instance, according to a former Mossad operations officer who goes by the alias Michael Ross, in 1998 the Mossad and the CIA developed a plan to sell a supposedly helpful chemical substance--which would, in fact, gum up centrifuges over time--to Iran on the black market."

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by shushtari on

you have some great points, but you said:

Any US backed military intervention in Iran will result in elimination of all opposition movements in Iran, and will solidify the hardliners grasp of power , and the Revolutionary Guards' final assault to fully take over the government.'

I completely disagree- since this intervention does not have to or should it be an all out invasion of iran- which I completely oppose.  It can be a deathblow only to the true rulers of iran- a military operation to 'cut the head of the mullahs' and only the mullahs- with special forces, etc.

Of course, this may be very difficult, but it can still be done....

In fact, this is EXACTLY how the US helped topple the shah.....key leaders in the imperial army were targeted and assassinated- general badrei, etc.  anyone who posed a threat of crushing khomeini and his gang was 'taken care' of....

the point is, the mullahs are on their last stand- but they will never give up power quietly- the head of the monster has to be cut, so the rest of it can die off.

gradual change may happen over a LONG period of time- but this may likely take decades, and iran cannot afford a century of mullah's oppression 



by AMIR1973 on

Any US backed military intervention in Iran will result in elimination of all opposition movements in Iran

That already happened nearly 3 decades ago, and the Great Satan's devilish acts were not needed to achieve it--the Khomeinists did it on their own. What "opposition movement" do you refer to? Mousavi, Khatami, Rafsanjani, and Karroubi? Is that the "opposition"? They ruled IRI from 1981-2005.

The only way to neutralize this regime is to recognize it and let it be; once the "foreign threat" is nonexistent, then the regime will have a very hard time justifying its heavy handed and repressive tactics to maintain the "independence" of Iran.  

The IRI has long been "recognized" by most countries in the world. The regime established and strengthened its ties with Europe, Canada, Asia, and Latin America throughout the 1990s. For many years, EU countries were its leading trade partners. Even when there's not a foreign threat, there's a "foreign threat"--Israel, USSR, US (the IRI will always have a Great Satan and Little Satans, and nothing will change that). Don't you worry, they will find a justification for stoning adulterers to death and their other medieval barbarities--that justification is called Eslam-e Nab-e Mohammadi. As if they need a "foreign threat" excuse for repression--they will grab an excuse out of thin air. 


Iran's Great Opportunity For A Long Due Democratic System

by cbfigaro on

It is stunning to see how simplistic and self-serving the views of Mr. Kaylan and Forbes' editors are about   Middle-East and Iran specifically.  Despite 8 years of tragically failed foreign and domestic policies under the previous US administration, the New-Cons and their affiliates are still maintaining course by pushing towards a global hegemony of US and its Western allies at any cost... 


The turning point of Iranian people's fight for justice and independent parliamentary government began over 100 years ago, and  each time they reached a climax through popular movements, they were subdued with indirect interventions of Russians, British , or US governments by using colonial methods of dividing the opposing forces, and creating an inner-fight amongst different Iranians fractions. 


A regime change in Iran by military force could have some short-term benefits for US and its allies, but in the long run, it will be disastrous for Iran as a nation, as well as many neighboring countries, and ultimately for US taxpayers. To present an argument that a regime change in Iran will be the end of many problems in the region, is like assuming that killing Bin Laden will resolve the "Terrorism" problem throughout the world. 


The current Iranian regime is the result of a complex power-play among a number of influential interest groups in the region, including US, UK, Russia, and now China, along with the Najaf-Ghom Shiite axes, which has been a powerbroker and kingmaker in Iran  going back to Safavid dynasty in early 16th century. 


Mullahs with over four centuries of political knowhow were finally able to grab the power again 30 years ago, and since they have been able to masterfully manage and turn anything thrown at them into a political advantage, starting with Iran-Iraq war in the 80's, which was also intended to "change the regime" with Sadam's assistance, but it turned out to be a gift from Heavens allowing them to solidify their base in the name of national independence and integrity. 


A war with the west is exactly what this regime has been preparing  for in the last 30 years. The war will undoubtedly  have the exact opposite effect among Iranians, by confirming once again that the "Great Satan" and its allies are to bring Iran down to its knees and take away its oil and natural resources with the help of a "democratically elected" puppet government, just like next door in Iraq and Afghanistan... 


Any US backed military intervention in Iran will result in elimination of all opposition movements in Iran, and will solidify the hardliners grasp of power , and the Revolutionary Guards' final assault to fully take over the government. 


The current Iranian regime is composed of two main elements, the hardliner clergies as its facade, and the Revolutionary Guards as its backbone by providing the muscles when needed, as well as billions of dollars in cash made up in all sorts of legal and illegal domestic and global markets from armaments, oil, drugs, money laundering and counterfeits,  to cigarettes, alcohol, construction materials, and heavy industries.

Despite their fanatical rhetoric and propaganda slogans, both these groups have shown in the past to be quit clever and pragmatic when it comes to remaining in power and maintaining their financial interests. At many occasions they have made attempts to normalize their relationship with US, but White House has ignored these attempts and maintained its hostile course of actions against the regime. 


The only way to neutralize this regime is to recognize it and let it be; once the "foreign threat" is nonexistent, then the regime will have a very hard time justifying its heavy handed and repressive tactics to maintain the "independence" of Iran. 


 Another key factor about Iran that is missed by many local and international experts is that in the last 30 years a new middle-class was formed in Iran made up mostly of the Iran-Iraq war veterans and their families, as well as large numbers of volunteer Basijis coming mainly from rural areas with modest backgrounds, These are the people who have been receiving all types of support and privileges from the regime including free housing, well-paid government jobs, and access to free education and universities for them and their children. This new middle-class with solid Islamic roots, but not necessarily always fundamentalist,  are the very base of this regime making somewhere between 10 to 20 million or more of Iran's 70 million population. Today, this new middle class controls many  aspects of Iran from government and social institutions to universities, as well as business and finances with holdings in every major part of the economy, and in most cities and villages throughout Iran. in short, this is the group that holds firmly most of Iran's current military and financial might. 


The other pre-revolution Iranian middle class is made up mostly of well-off educated families living in Tehran and other major cities, they are in general mostly professionals working in all aspects of urban economies. This is the group that is mainly critical of the regime and opposes its repressive methods; they mainly supported Khatami and Mousavi during recent elections, and are in general more liberal than the other camp. A  rough estimate of this group could be somewhere between 15 to 30 million; leaving another 20 to 40 million Iranians somewhere in  between or below these two middle class groups. 


These two groups are very much in direct opposition when it comes to Iran's present political realities and its future; both are strongly nationalistic with Iran's independence and integrity  as their top priority, one group is semi-secular with more westernized views of the world, and the other is more conservative with deep Islamic roots, and all the divine and earthly resources needed to impose their views on the rest of Iranians. 


The formation of these two middle-class groups in modern Iran is an opportunity never presented before in Iranian history, which has always been the monopole of a monarch and its entourage dominating the voiceless subjects throughout the empire.  by allowing the birth of a true democracy where two powerful and resourceful  opposing views could find a common ground based on their mutual interest in Iran's future as an independent and sovereign nation, where all parties could strive and contribute to future generations.


Here is the problem as I see it...

by fooladi on

As the regime weakens, it needs a knock out blow to finish it off. This knock out blow can be delivered by foreign forces, or by the Iron fist of Iranian nation. I no doubt prefer the latter, but to do that we need to brush aside the "reformers". Failing that, we will be loking at US forces in Tehran.....


the fleet is there

by mahmoudg on

to strike precisely at the same moment when the regime wants to divert attention.  at that moment bombs will be flying from the Persian Gulf raining in on the heads of the ruling elite.  Mark my words.



by yolanda on

What an summarizes everything happening in Iran except Shahram Amiri saga. Great analysis and insight!

Thank you for posting!