The most recent report from the United Nations the International Atomic Energy Agency indicates Iran continues to hide its production of enriched uranium. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talks out of both sides of his mouth, saying pursuit of nuclear weapons is an “unforgiveable sin” while on the other hand proclaiming Iran will not abandon their nuclear program. If you trust the Ayatollah, I’ve got some stock in the defunct Soviet Union I’ll sell you.
Experts are currently divided on what an attack on Iran would do to support for the Moslem regime. All agree the current Moslem government is unpopular and would welcome any action that would shore it up. However, a direct attack on the country would not necessarily bring support from the current opposition to the government. Probably, the rebels response would be determined by how much of the population was killed or hurt in such an attack. Undoubtedly, President Ahmadinejad would call for national unity. In the short run, it could be a boost for the regime’s popularity.
At this time, sanctions have definitely hurt the popularity of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s government. While the economy has definitely been effected, the business person on the street is really getting it in the neck with decreasing support for Khamenei. However, it appears to be a toss up among the experts as to how Iranian rebels would respond to an attack on their own soil.
The most pressing current issue is stopping Iran’s intervenetion in Syria. Iran is doing everything possible to hold on to the Assad control of the country. Loss of the relationship with this current government would amount to a clossal defeat and greatly weaken the Iranian hold on the Shi’ite Cresent that extends from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. However, the United States has made it clear that they will directly confront Iran If more intervention follows. Moreover, Israel would feel directly threatened by an Iranian presence in Syria and would immediately respond aggressively. Of course, Russia would support Iran, but could do little to actually support their actions militarily.
So, where do we go next?
Most experts agree that the USA must do more. They have already made it clear that crossing a red line drawn by Secretary Hillary Clinton will bring a military response, but it is not clear that the Iranians take this warning seriously enough to back off. The Khamenei regime still doubts American’s will to make a military effort. Many feel the USA must facilitate the Syrian rebels supply of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons while encouraging more Syrian government officials to defect if Iran is to take them more seriously.
Iranian expert Prof. David Menashri believes the regime is in a delicate situation with considerable pressure from inside the country. Citizens are dissatisfied with the lack of social and political justice and freedom. A more public demonstration of unity of the United States with Europe would help increase the stress on Khamenei and his comrades. Menashri asserts Israel should keep its debate behind closed doors as disagreements only lessens Iran’s fears.
Words no longer count for much. The issues will be settled by action. (530 word count)
Question: Can diplomacy still stop Iranian intervention or is time running out?