What’s up in Iran?

What’s up in Iran?

The amount of “West-phobia” in Iran could well contribute to the people’s willingness to find a Western plot behind everything that happens in their neighborhood.

The recent history of the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East, and of course North Africa clearly provides sound evidence to support suspicions of a “foreign hand” in most problematic situations.

This phobia has been fed by the “Balkan syndrome,” the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the Sevres Treaty’s contribution to the rise of Arab nationalism and the imposition of artificial borders following the First World War, to say nothing of the more recent “Arab Spring,” together with the Iraq, Libya and Syria “operations,” carried out by the “alliance of the willing.”

Despite the obvious failure of the utopian dream to bring democracy to the Arab lands through a wave of “emotional revolutions,” does the Middle East face yet another eruption, this time a “Persian Spring?”

Some of course would claim that the “Turkish Spring” has been in the pipeline since as early as 2013, and that Iran will have to remain patient. While efforts for the “Turkish Spring” have failed, as the 2013 Gezi protests were unable to help unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the “Persian spring” has been given the go ahead.

Former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, who has kept silent since his forced resignation under Erdoğan’s orders, has been back on twitter with a “very clever” message. He claims that although the “order” of the “spring fashion” appears different, when the “Turkish Spring” collapsed in Gezi Park in 2013, the orchestrators decided to prioritize a “Persian Spring” instead. Could that be the case?

Recent events in Iran can be described as some sort of “postmodern coup” attempt fueled by the high cost of living and strong discontent with the performance of President Hassan Rouhani’s government. Slogans chanted by the crowds against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demonstrate that the situation in Iran is far different and probably more serious than the 2009 uprising.

Of course, the government could well subdue the current unrest and stifle the Iranian people again, though the regime of the mullahs might soon face the same destiny of the former shah.

Could the shah have stayed on with the help of excessive force, iron-fist policies, all kinds of torture, oppression and tyrannical measures applied to the opposition and the Islamists? Once the people decide to shape their own destiny rather than bow before a privileged, greedy elite composed of religious men, audacious politicians, corrupt bureaucrats and accomplices of all sorts, no shah or mullah can stand in their way.

Ali Hosseini Khamenei is a “marja,” a Grand Ayatollah with the authority to make legal decisions within the confines of Islamic law, and the second Supreme Leader of Iran, and he entered office in 1989. If even he is liable to be attacked by protestors, it ought to be clear that Iranians are rebelling not only against the government, but against the Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Khamenei...

Khamenei claims that “enemies” of the Islamic republic have stirred up trouble in the country with the aim of pushing Iran into a civil war. His statements show that the leader would rather boost his membership of the “West-phobia” club than analyze failings in his administration.

His assertion, however, has found support in the not-so-intelligent remarks of the White House as well as some leading Western politicians expressing their support of the Iranian demonstrators.

The Iranian government’s failure to defuse tension by employing excessive force on the crowds instead of opening dialogue has worsened the situation. Iran appears determined to further tighten security policies and apply as much force as required to crush the uprising. Did such policies help the former Shah of Iran in 1979? The mullahs should examine well the reasons for the collapse of the shah’s regime.

On the other hand, the collapse of the Iranian state will be a nightmare for Turkey, a country that is still dealing with the trauma of the terrible events that have unfolded in neighboring Iraq and Syria over the past decades.