One Year From Now

The Islamic Republic's ship of state is heading into turbulent waters


One Year From Now
by Meir Javedanfar

Unless Iran's supreme leader changes course in his internal policies, the domestic stability of his regime in 2010 is going to be more fragile than in 2009.

"Tishe be reeshe zadan" is a famous expression in Persian. It literally means hitting the roots with an ax. It is used to describe situations where someone deals a major blow to the foundation of something. Should Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continue with the current subsidies reform bill, he would be dealing a heavy blow to the foundation of his regime. In fact, this could eventually lead to its downfall. As the reform bill is expected to reduce subsidies for basic services and products while pushing up levels of inflation, its main victim is going to be the working class, whose support is an important pillar upholding the regime's foundation. The ensuing economic difficulties will cause people from the lower income brackets of society, especially from rural areas, to join the ranks of the opposition. More importantly, it could empower the unions to launch strikes.

Therefore, in 2010 we are likely to see demonstrations reaching rural areas as well as the spread of strikes, something the Green movement could not achieve on its own. This should worry the supreme leader. It was the combination of the poor and the unions joining the opposition that broke the back of the Shah's regime. In the long run, the same could apply to this regime.

This assessment also holds true for the upcoming municipal elections in December 2010. Held every four years, these elections are not as important as the presidential or parliamentary elections. Their relative lack of importance gives Khamenei a golden opportunity to show some kind of flexibility in order to silence the opposition, without looking weak in the eyes of his conservative allies. Allowing reformists to participate would certainly dissuade more of them from joining the ranks of those who want regime change. In contrast, giving President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad's ultra-conservative allies free reign to participate while disqualifying reformists would have the opposite effect. It would also lead to a major boycott of elections by the public. For now, this is the likeliest scenario.

There is one other important underlying factor working against Khamenei's interests that could lead to the further deterioration of his position internally: the quality of advice he receives. This is crucial. The 70-year-old cleric is not suicidal. Had he received realistic advice instead of ideological counsel from Ahmadinezhad and his ilk, it's very unlikely he would have allowed the situation to deteriorate to this level. This is especially true when it comes to assessing the risk of allowing cheating in Ahmadinezhad's favor in the recent elections. Should ideology rather than realpolitik continue to be the basis of the counsel provided to the supreme leader, deterioration of the internal situation in 2010 is a foregone conclusion.

But how Iran acts in 2010 toward the outside world will depend on not one but two factors. One is the deterioration of the regime's domestic stability; the other is sanctions in any form. Either or both will cause Khamenei to adopt a more aggressive line toward the West. For now this seems the likeliest case.

The supreme leader's refusal to accept US President Barack Obama's offer has left the White House with no other choice regarding sanctions. With Senate elections looming in November 2010, it would be detrimental for Obama (and much to the benefit of the Republicans) not to impose sanctions. Once this happens, as Seyyed Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University said in a recent debate on al-Jazeera English, "the Iranian government will be forced to withdraw its cooperation from places such as Iraq and Afghanistan." In other words, Iran is going to destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan by aiding anti-US forces, thus creating major problems for the Obama administration.

It is very likely that threats against Israel are also going to continue in order to boost the Islamic Republic's position on the Arab street. Meanwhile, the expected deterioration of stability at home is likely to harden Khamenei's negotiating position. The concern here would be that flexibility shown to the West may boost the position of the reformists.

The Islamic Republic's ship of state is heading into turbulent waters. However difficult the task, the ship's captain--the supreme leader--needs to change course, and the sooner the better. The longer he waits, the weaker his regime will become, especially at home. This is one problem that even a nuclear bomb will not be able to solve.- The writer is an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst and the coauthor of The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran.

This article was first published by and is reprinted with permission.


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Totally agree with Hamsade ghadime response

by Bavafa on

And just want to add that the events during Ashora made it clear that this not about AN or election any more. This is about Velayat Faghih, which makes/is the core of IRI.



HG: Sorry, It was just  a

by vildemose on

HG: Sorry, It was just  a wild guess.


DB Michigan may not be too far from truth

by Cost-of-Progress on

Michigan has a large popualtion of Arabs. 




hamsade ghadimi

funny how a rumor starts

by hamsade ghadimi on

vildemose jan, see what you've started with your guessing game.  aziz, since when michigan is not counted as a northern state.  what's the difference if he's from peioria, indianapolis, st. louis, columbus, or ames?  the dude can't even speak farsi.  he's just a hateful and miserable human being that has chosen to use the military knowledge he has accumulated from his younger days (and is of no use for his job) to get attention from people on the web.  only if his wife knew of the hate he's spewing on this site and his support for a state that views women as property....

let's not sidetrack from this blog.

Ali9 Akbar

Dearborn Michigan????....that's not too far from Chicago

by Ali9 Akbar on

and Great Lakes Naval Air Station....  sounds like our buddy Saragord is an IRI Spy to keep tabs on the US NAVY....  get a good look saragord because if the IRI commits ANY tomfoolery on Bahaman 22... the US NAVY Air Force and USMC will pay a visit to your buddies in Tehran....


Dear born, Michigan??

by vildemose on

Dearborn, Michigan??

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

somewhere in the u.s.  not west, not east, not south and not north.  a place where i used to call home.


Dear Hamsade Ghadimi

by AMIR1973 on

I understand your concerns. I agree: the personal details of this Internet propaganda troll don't matter. But the fact that he has been demonstrated to be a prevaricator, and worse, supporter of the worst government in Iran's modern history reflects what kind of amoral character he is. I guess I'm just curious to see if he is in the West or Iran, where I've heard is blocked?


31 degrees in Farenheit or

by vildemose on

31 degrees in Farenheit or Celcius?

hamsade ghadimi


by hamsade ghadimi on

it's really immaterial who this person is or where he lives.  it's a pity that he and people like him have no compassion for iranian people being tortured, raped, and killed because they don't agree with the iri.  i don't want to publicize personal information about him or others who wish to stay anonymous.  just like you, i was curious and expanded on your detective work.  actually, you have all the information that you need and just have to do a simple google search.  if you really want to know, set up a fake e-mail and i'll relay the information.  but really, this information does not have that much value other than satisfying your curiosity.


hamsade ghadimi

by AMIR1973 on

Dear Hamsade,

Do tell more. Where is the place that the weather is 31 degrees that you are referring to? Now, you've got me interested, hamvatan-e aziz.

hamsade ghadimi

mr. javedanfar, amir1973

by hamsade ghadimi on

mr. j, unfortunately, i have to disagree with some components of your argument; although, i agree with your conclusion.  i'm not familiar with the subsidies reform bill in iran; however, many subsidies that are in place in iran (e.g. commodities such as flour, sugar, oil) have been put in place as band-aids for the economic mismanagement of the iri regime.  even if the conservatives have introduced the bill, they will join to defeat it to point out the so-called liberals and reformers are the ones who are voting to take the subsidies off the books.  at the end, the conservatives will claim victory and declare themselves the champion of the poor and working class who depend on these subsidies.  these subsidies are unsustainable substitues for real economic solutions such as creation of jobs and fighting against corruption.

secondly, i don't put that much stock in the municipal elections.  there are two reasons: the candiates, and the voters.  following the presidential election fiasco, there's not that much enthusiasm in the election farce that the iri regime puts up whether national or municipal.  it is less likely that a "reform" candidate will put his neck on the line for a municipal position.  and the likelihood that the reform-minded or anti-iri to come out and vote.  therefore, if the results of the municipal elections are to show a "signal" from the populace of their discontent with the regime, then i think it will be a miserable failure.

lastly, your point that the supreme leader will refuse obama's offer may be outdated (i don't know when your article was written) since ahmadinejad signaled the acceptance of the obama's offer.  we'll have to see how that will unfold or better put unravel.

amir1973, the weather where sargord lives is 31 degrees and the place far from s.f.  i just used your previous detective work to figure it out. ;)


Sargord, how's the weather in San Fran (or is it Tehran)?

by AMIR1973 on


Propagandists for the most violent, repressive, and medieval government in Iran's recent history shouldn't try to divert attention from their murderous regime by resorting to their usual red herring tactics about Goldstone or Hasbara. Supporters of a regime that has killed many, many thousands of Iranians (around 15,000 from 1981-85--not to mention the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988) have less than zero credibility in criticizing others (and I say this as an anti-Zionist who sympathizes with the Palestinians and would like to see a single, democratic state for both Jews and Arabs). However, Iranians' Number One problem is their own garbage, murderous regime--of which you are an amoral supporter.

PS, I like your web persona of "Pirouz" on the NIAC blog, where you claim to be a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. It goes to show that anything coming out of the mouth of an IRI propagandist is a lie until proven otherwise.  



Thanks Meir

by DariusMazdak on

That was an interesting article.


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Re: How's the weather in Tel

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Unfortunately the persecution by IRR has sent many  of the Iranian Jews into exile. Some went to Israel others to the West.

The loss of over half Iranian Jews has been both a blow and a tragedy. I hope to see this tragedy reverse in my life time. 

Sargord if you are trying to demonize Meir by saying he is in Israel you have failed. I hope to see the day when he and many other Iranian exiles return to a free Iran.

You can find the weather in Tel Aviv below:



Sargord Pirouz

How's the weather in Tel

by Sargord Pirouz on

How's the weather in Tel Aviv, Meir? (That's where he writes from)

Your views on the Goldstone report would be more relevant- wouldn't you agree?

Oh, but that wouldn't conform to the Hasbara manual:




by Proud_To_Be_Anonymous on

Unless and untill the June presidential election is annulled, the majority of the voters will not vote in any future elections.