The Iranian people are preparing for the next big challenge to the dying regime: tomorrow, 7 December. Pearl Harbor Day. And the regime is lashing out in all directions:
- arresting dissidents (including even the “mourning mothers” of the victims of regime savagery);
- shutting down the social networks (as of late Saturday, internet access was very slow in Iran, and sms, twitter and facebook were being blocked);
- accusing the West of the ultimate evil: “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today that he has concrete evidence that the US was trying to prevent the Hidden Imam from descending on earth. (The Hidden Imam is the 12th and final Imam of Shi’ites who is said to return to earth during the final days and usher in the apocalypse).”
- Trying to stop the world outside (and Iranians inside) from seeing what is really going on; foreign correspondents have had their licenses suspended for 72 hours, (courtesy of the Orwellian Culture Ministry).
So we are perhaps going to be able to answer the contemporary version of that old question “if a tree falls and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” Our question is “if there is a revolution, and nobody reports it, does the regime fall?”
Meanwhile, back at the mosque, the supreme leader delivered a rambling 40-minute speech in which he referred to “enemies” about 200 times. It is one of those classics of tyrannical paranoia that students of failing regimes like to analyze. Barbara Slavin, who briefly permitted herself to believe that the regime was going to agree to an American proposal to delay uranium enrichment, today produced a useful survey of contemporary Iranology, reminiscent of the tortured analyses of the inner workings of the Soviet regime. The centerpiece of the Iranologists’ thinking is the notion that the mullahs just can’t make a decision because they are so badly divided amongst themselves about making a deal with Obama. They wonder if the Revolutionary Guards are not in control, rather than Khamenei. And Ms Slavin quotes an unnamed administration official who takes credit for creating or at least catalyzing the inner turmoil.
The trouble with these experts’ analysis is that the top leaders have always said that they would never abandon the nuclear program, and the obvious straight-line explanation for their negotiating ploys for the past many years is a desire to buy time while fending off stern Western measures. The Iranologists are inventing epicycles when they should be looking at planetary orbits.