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March 10, 2006

And the Winner is...
Guest Author: Omid Paydar

OP-ahmadinejad.jpg Regardless of how things play out in the Iranian nuclear drama, one has to admit that the entire process, whether intentionally or by design, has been a huge success for the Islamic Republic, Mr. Ahmadinejad and the other regressive forces of the Iranian society.

For one, in terms of the nuclear issue there aren't too many viable options for the West to stop Iran's nuclear program. Even military strikes will probably have the effect of strengthening the grips of the regime and providing an excuse for withdrawal from the NPT.

More importantly, this regime as one of the primary violator of human rights has successfully shifted all of the attention of the domestic and international communities towards the nuclear issue at a time when unions are being crushed, political prisoners are being tortured in prisons, the country is increasingly made into a police state and the rights of women and minorities is being trampled on every day.

By comparing himself to Mossadegh (Iranian PM who nationalized oil and stood up against the British), Ahmadinjead is trying to appeal to Iranian nationalism, which is as potent a force as Islam has been in shaping the Iranian society. Sadly, this strategy seems to be successful given Iran's increasing isolation from the rest of the world (and there are still some nut-cases who think isolating Iran further is going to be positive). The strategy has also left the opposition in disarray, with the MKO (the Jihadists for the Iranian Masses) and the Monarchists trying to act potential vultures in case the U.S. plans to take down the Iranian regime. The rest of the opposition consists of millions of individuals who are not ready to unite over anything, since their experiences from the 1979 revolution shows them that unity can bring more evil than good.

So essentially at a time when the economy is crumbling, the revolution has failed on its promises, unions are protesting, religious sentiments are falling and social ills like addiction are ravaging the Iranian society, Mr. Ahmadinejad has managed to use Western double standards (which are of course quite evident, see latest Bush visit to India) to invoke a sense of injustice and rally support behind the regime's nuclear ambitions.

And it seems the world is willingly playing into his hands. Machiavelli would have been proud.

Omid Paydar is an Iranian freelance researcher on Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs.
?! at March 10, 2006 07:25 AM [permalink]:

Schoenerleben at March 10, 2006 01:40 PM [permalink]:

I agree that the current success of the iranian gouvernement in the nuclear issue is a win-win situation for Mr. Ahmadinejad.
Though, I am wondering if this fact is a good sign for peace in the world.

The critics in some media about the west's double standards is somehow strange. The west is definetly the region on earth with most coherant politics and ethics; each muslim country is full of double standards (handling minorities e.g). The west is to blame for its faults (which are numberous), but why do some people seem to be happy when finding "double standards" in western actions? Did they think the west was perfect?

Benjamin Ochoa at March 11, 2006 04:50 PM [permalink]:

What happens if Isreal launches a preemptive strike against Iran? What will Saudi Arabia do? And if the Iranians have so much oil that they can threaten the world with it, why do they need nuclear power to generate electricity?

rose at May 5, 2006 12:03 PM [permalink]:

iran is the best country and DR ahmadynejad is the best president in the world

kate at May 21, 2006 05:40 PM [permalink]:

I'm from the USA. I favor Iran developing nuclear weapons. I also favor the United States withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and updating our own nuclear weapons. So should the European nations. Nukes can be pointed at Iran as easily as they can be pointed anywhere else, and it's doubtful Iran or anybody else could wipe out nuclear subs in time to prevent retaliation. Mutual Assured Destruction has worked to prevent nuclear war between the US and Russia for 60 years -- including a showdown in 1962 over Russia proposing to place nukes in Cuba. It's worked with China. India and Pakistan seem unlikely to nuke each other for the same reason. The major downsides of the renewed nuclear arms race that Iran seems intent on starting is money diverted from more productive endeavors, the risk of brinksmanship tipping over the edge, and the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weaponry. The USA is not going to attack Iran -- it wants Iran as a friend, not an enemy. For the life of me, I can't see why Pres. Bush keeps on with the the constant chest beating. And since Iran doesn't need nuclear energy, its program seems to me to be little more than ego-building for its dictator/leader(s). But such is the nature of human kind.