Why the Islamic Republic of Iran is Doomed
I think the Islamic Republic of Iran is doomed, and I think this is pretty much demonstrated by the events of the past few weeks, culminating in the fiasco on Sunday. Successful revolutions require several things, including manifest failure of the regime, widespread contempt from the overwhelming majority of the people, and a palpable inability of the leaders to impose themselves on the country.
Sunday provided a clear test of the strength of the regime and its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. The occasion was the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution that overthrew the shah and imposed a theological dictatorship. Khamenei, President Rouhani and their henchmen were eager to demonstrate that the Iranian people actually supported the regime, and that the widespread anti-regime demonstrations of the past month were the marginal consequences of foreign meddling, not genuine passion. Hence the mullahs called for monster rallies to celebrate the 39 years of Islamic Revolution.
It didn’t work.
Turnout was shockingly low, and in fact there were scores of anti-regime demonstrations. Speeches by regime supporters were interrupted, and women brandished hijabs in acts of defiance. A fiasco for the regime.
The regime knows its days are numbered. You can see this by watching the relentless increase in the oppression of the Iranian people. Last time I checked, there half again as many executions under Rouhani as there had been under Ahmadinejad, the former often described as “moderate,” while the latter was considered some kind of bloodthirsty murderer. Today Rouhani sits at the right hand of the chief tyrant, while Ahmadinejad is under house arrest, as are the leaders of the Green Movement who challenged his legitimacy after the phony elections of 2009. Rouhani is forever promising reform, but delivers only mayhem.
The most recent horror is the “suicide” of a beloved environmentalist, Kavous Emami. He was arrested on January 24, and was called a suicide within two weeks. Hardly anyone believes he killed himself; he was undoubtedly executed, as even the very cautious New York Times Iran correspondent made clear. And the Iran Sociology Association also spoke out: "The information published about him is not believable and we expect officials to respond and to provide the public with information concerning his death."
Emami was one of many scientists warning of a nationwide water shortage that is one of many grotesque failures of the regime, reminding one of the similar ruination of the environment in the last days of the Soviet Union. Unsurprisingly, many of Emami’s colleagues have been arrested and still others are rumored to be in prison. Of late, political prisoners have been housed in safe houses run by the Revolutionary Guards instead of the infamous prisons, such as Evin in Tehran, where they had routinely been incarcerated. The families of the new wave of political prisoners do not know where to go to find their loved ones, which is exactly what Khamenei, et al desire. They fear protests in front of the jails.