It has been a month since Ahmadinejad, the least popular president of all times moved to the presidential palace in Pastor Street. He came to office by luring people with his idealistic promises that he certainly will not able to deliever. He is praying day and night for some heavenly help. So far, he has been lucky. God seems to be on his side. The price of oil is rising rapidly which has enabled him to accrue unexpcted amount of money and spend them at will. Only last week, his government allocated 100 million dollars from the ‘foreign currency savings account’ in subsidy for pupils enrollment in the new school year.
But the problems that his government is facing are far more serious and cannot be resolved by such temporary measures as injecting oil money. Widespead corruption, unemployment, deep division between the rich and the poor, crime, and lack of social justice are among the most significant problems in Iran. In addition, the divide between key figures within the regime is growing deeper. And this time, there is no attempt to disguise the divide. Karoubi, for example, has expressly referred to the critique of power as his intention for establishing his new political party. In a more recent time, he has also announced that he will not run for Khobregan Assembly (which is in charge of monitoring the leadership) next year. Elsewhere, the Expediency Council has turned into a scene of conflict: Ahmadinejad has not attended a single session of the Council since he has become the president. He obviously is not comfortable to be part of the Council which Rafsanjani heads. He has prayed to God that his master (Khamenei) show more empathy to him than what he has for Rafsanjani. It seems that God is on his side. (See Iran Scan).
In the meanwhile, political groups and parties are trying to find a way to curtail the absolute power of Ahmadinejad’s master. They have no doubt that with the current pattern of power, any attept towards reform or democracy is doomed to fail. But what kind of strategy will the come up with? No one knows yet. Besides, their passive political conduct during their heydays is still fresh in people’s memory. Thus, it is hard to conceive of their success in winning people’s heart in the near future. So, God seems to be on Ahmadinejad’s side on this too.
The US is loing its patient with the Islamic regime and wants to force it to stop its nuclear program. Economic sanctions are seen as the best viable solution. But, how will sanctions affect the Iranian regime? To answer this, we only need to recall the experience with UN sanctions on Iraq that were imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. For over ten years Saddam’s Iraq was under sanctions. But did they serve their purpose? Did Saddam fall as a result of their imposition? The main bearers of the predicaments caused by the sanctions were Iraqi people, not the government who, hand in hand with UN officials, were making benefit of the emabargos! (And of course, this is no secret now). Imposing economic sanctions on Iran will be no different either. The regime, no doubt, knows where to find the resources it wants. And if the intention behind this plan is to weaken the position of the regime, it will certainly fail too. History suggests that Iranians become solidly united whenver they come under foreign pressure or encounter foreign hostility. Moreover, once under UN sanctions, the government can no longer be held liable for its inability to deliever its promises. It can readily point the finger to the US and the UN for causing all troubles in Iran. Besides, it would be likely that the government declare ‘emergency status’, under which it will be able to suppress, as it has done before, any political opposition. Will God be on Ahmadinejad’s side here too? This time its up to Americans to decide as to whether to bring God on Ahmadinejad’s side.