Israel sees ‘Persian Spring’ for Tehran
JERUSALEM - Agence France-PresseIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said he believes “the Arab Spring will be followed by a Persian Spring,” with international sanctions against Iran leading to renewed domestic unrest.
“The Arab Spring will be followed by a Persian Spring, instability is spreading in Iran, and not just in Tehran,” Lieberman told Israeli military radio yesterday. “There is no doubt that the protest movement will be strengthened by the approach of the Iranian presidential elections next summer,” he added.
His remarks came a day after scuffles broke out in central Tehran in the first sign of unrest over Iran’s plunging currency, which has lost more than half its value since last week as European and U.S. sanctions have bitten. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rivals claim that economic mismanagement is the main cause of the currency crisis. He blames Western sanctions but insists Iran will make no concessions on its nuclear program.
“The Iranian regime is reaching a critical point. International sanctions will not convince the leaders of the country to renounce their nuclear program, but what is important is that the Iranian people have begun to realize that they are not ready to be sacrificed to satisfy the revolutionary and fanatic ambitions of their leaders,” he said.
Lieberman called on Western governments to act to help opposition activists who rose up against the regime when Ahmadinejad was re-elected in 2009 and the most prominent of whom remain under house arrest.
“This time, the West must help the movement, facilitating its communications, giving money and mobilizing international organizations like the UN Security Council, the European Union and other bodies,” he said.