Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ryan Mauro: Iran after the Theocracy

The Iranian regime is increasingly unstable and its collapse has become a real possibility.

Economic and international pressure, fractures in the regime, and the increasing hostility of the majority of the population to the government are factors that could prove fatal to the theocracy.

As the Iranian government’s pillars continue to shake, a new generation of leaders is poised to fill the gap and take the country in a more positive direction. Let us take a closer look at this new generation of leaders to gauge what may ensue if the tyrannical theocracy falls.

The most talked about leader is Mir Hossein Mousavi, the real winner of the rigged presidential vote of June 12 that the enraged Iranian people rallied around in defiance of the regime’s security forces.

Millions of Iranians wore green, the color of his campaign and his new political party, the Green Path of Hope.

His popularity is likely the one factor stopping Khamenei from arresting and prosecuting him, despite the pressure of Ahmadinejad and other hardline officials. By demanding new elections, an initiative opposed only by the most ardent supporters of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, and not complete regime change, Mousavi is able to win support across-the-board.

While he’s certainly far more liberal than the current regime, he has not called for removing the post of Supreme Leader, the key feature of the theocracy. It is important for observers to remember that Mousavi is reported to have been one of the founders of Hezbollah, and he had to be approved by Khamenei to run in the first place.

At the same time, however, he should be seen not as the one leading the opposition movement, but as the one led by the opposition movement. His political base will quickly turn against him should he fail to pursue the wide-sweeping change they desire, and based on his recent experience battling the regime, he may very well share the same ambition but isn’t quite ready to cross the red line of vocalizing it. His stance on bringing about complete womens’ rights and free elections, however, would inevitably lead to the total end of the theocracy and he has to know it.

Mehdi Karroubi, another presidential candidate, has been acting more confrontational with the regime and is seeing his stock quickly rise. Emails I receive from Iranians mention his name far more than that of Mousavi now, as they respect his boldness and the fact that he is more liberal than Mousavi, having boldly criticized the Revolutionary Guards’ role in the government and consistently calling for broad civil rights for everyone.

He has publicly stated that he has proof that the security forces tortured and raped political prisoners, and continues to level the charge despite the regime’s closing of his offices, arresting of his advisors, and threats to arrest him.

He’s a growing threat to the regime, which is why they have opened up an investigation of him for possible prosecution.

While he’s calling for the civil rights the countries of the West enjoys, Karroubi has unfortunately said that he’d continue Iran’s support for Hamas if he was elected president, and like Mousavi, hasn’t explicitly called for regime change, although these actions may be attributable to political posturing.

Read it all at FrontPage Magazine.

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