Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
Story Archives: Iranian fallout just beginning
- 2013 - 801 articles
- 2012 - 1954 articles
- 2011 - 2029 articles
- 2010 - 2139 articles
- 2009 - 2066 articles
- December 2009 - 163 articles
- November 2009 - 166 articles
- October 2009 - 231 articles
- September 2009 - 161 articles
- August 2009 - 136 articles
- July 2009 - 153 articles
- June 2009 - 126 articles
- June 25th, 2009 (Thursday) - 18 articles
- Ouachita football has holes to fill this summer
- Area needs more like James, Whitworth
- 62 career wins, all by age 13
- AAU action starts Friday
- Football draft kills down time
- Delta accreditation approved
- FCC OKs CenturyTel, Embarq deal; merger to be effective July 1
- Kids prefer giraffes, reptiles to snacks
- Twin City Concert Band plans Sunday concert
- Raborn foundation receives $100,000 grant
- Weekly devotional and church listings: June 25, 2009
- Business news, newsmakers — June 25, 2009
- Obituaries published on Thursday, June 25, 2009
- Diocese names Manning 8th grade student of year
- KTVE receives top honors
- Iranian fallout just beginning
- No justification for lack of details
- Transformation under way
- June 24th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 7 articles
- June 23rd, 2009 (Tuesday) - 4 articles
- June 22nd, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- June 20th, 2009 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- June 19th, 2009 (Friday) - 1 articles
- June 18th, 2009 (Thursday) - 19 articles
- June 17th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 4 articles
- June 16th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- June 13th, 2009 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- June 12th, 2009 (Friday) - 12 articles
- June 11th, 2009 (Thursday) - 9 articles
- June 10th, 2009 (Wednesday) - 8 articles
- June 9th, 2009 (Tuesday) - 1 articles
- June 7th, 2009 (Sunday) - 1 articles
- June 6th, 2009 (Saturday) - 1 articles
- June 5th, 2009 (Friday) - 10 articles
- June 4th, 2009 (Thursday) - 14 articles
- June 3rd, 2009 (Wednesday) - 9 articles
- June 2nd, 2009 (Tuesday) - 2 articles
- June 1st, 2009 (Monday) - 1 articles
- May 2009 - 164 articles
- April 2009 - 242 articles
- March 2009 - 204 articles
- February 2009 - 163 articles
- January 2009 - 157 articles
- 2008 - 1757 articles
|Iranian fallout just beginning|
On Jan. 16, 1979, Mohammad Reza Shah (the Shah of Iran) fled from Iran, despite overt (and covert) U.S. support, a growing economy and a brutal secret police, the SAVAK, which had unconstrained law enforcement powers. Within two weeks, Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini (later to be known as the Ayatollah, or 'sign of God') returned from his exile in Paris and set in motion a series of events that would lead to a national referendum to establish an Islamic Republic of Iran.
Now, slightly more than 30 years later, Iran appears to be unraveling again.
Current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is widely popular among the military and religious leadership, as well as in rural areas, appears to have beaten Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist Cleric, in an election where more than 46 million people voted.
The controversy arose in large part because the hand-cast ballots were counted so quickly and Ahmadinejad's victory, which few dispute, was announced barely after polls closed. Karroubi has 'Facebooked' and 'Twittered' his way onto the world stage and remains defiant by claiming that something is rotten in Tehran. He alleges ballot stuffing by Ahmadinejad supporters.
Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki contradicted such claims by saying ballot irregularities in the presidential election were "almost nonexistent." Further, while speaking to foreign diplomats in Tehran, Mottaki said an investigation into claims of fraud in the June 12 election would be announced by this week.
"The possibility of organized and comprehensive disruption and irregularities in this election is almost close to zero given the composition of the people who are holding the election," Mottaki said.
In order to deflect any responsibility, he blamed Britain for interfering in the elections, saying it had been planning against the vote for more than a year.
Leaders across Europe (i.e., Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown) were quick to denounce the Islamic Republic's reaction to street protests that have been reported to be literally vicious. Still, citizen reporting by Iranians have portrayed events that have yet to be confirmed — and in many cases have turned out to be completely false.
It is a difficult and dangerous task to set policy regarding Iran under the best of conditions; these last few days have been mired in inconsistencies that make the Persian puzzle that much more perplexing.
So, last Friday, Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei issued warnings to all protesters to end the violence and return to their schools, homes and jobs — or else.
According to Massoumeh Torfeh, an Iran specialist at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, "Ayatollah Khamenei realizes that the armed forces of the establishment are more supportive of Ahmadinejad than they would be of anyone else."
But the unrelenting mayhem and violence has persisted. And, the cost may not just be in blood, but in Iran's legitimacy.
"It's easy to stop a riot or demonstration with violence, but it's not easy to regain moral authority once it's been chipped away by your actions," said Juan Cole, a historian of the Middle East and an expert on Shiite Islam at the University of Michigan. "This is the kind of thing the shah used to do. The revolution has always said it stands for justice and the rule of law, but a large segment of the public is not going to think that anymore."
Basking in his 15 minutes, Karroubi parried rhetorically at the regime by saying, "You know well that those who support Mr. Ahmadinejad's government today are promoters of fanatic and Taliban-like Islam."
Finally, on Tuesday of this week, President Barack Obama addressed the situation head-on and said, "The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days."
It is hard to predict where all this is going. But, when those within a government begin questioning the authority of their government, and this is coupled with widespread violence and an overreaction by the government, well … sounds a lot like Tiananmen Square to me.
While this is the worst political protest in Iran since 1979, it is certainly not the only such protest. In 1997 and 2000, election-based protests reached the streets. The difference now seems to be the world's reaction and Iran's appalling response.
A missing piece to this Persian puzzle might be how differently a nuclear-armed Iran might have reacted. Can there be any better proof that Iran should not have nuclear weapons than the political instability confirmed over the last two weeks?
However — and here is the danger — such talk from the West, in general, and the U.S., specifically, can quickly unite Iranians and quash any pro-democracy or pro-reform or whatever "pro-movement" this is likely to become.
Many may criticize President Obama for being overly cautious here with Iran. But, if you are honest, ask yourself: when was the last U.S. President to have a successful Iranian policy? What more can Obama do at this point?
This event is not over, nor is the fallout. Will these events lead to another 1979 Revolution, where events happened quickly and decisively? Or, will this resemble the 1963 White Revolution in Iran, where immediate reforms prolonged the inevitable for 16 years?
One thing is for sure: Iranian leadership from President Ahmadinejad to Ayatollah Khamenei has been shaken. The next piece in this puzzle, though, must come from Iranians themselves if they want to regain political clout for their country on the world stage.
John W. Sutherlin, PhD, is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He also is co-director at the ULM Social Science Research Lab. He can be reached by e-mailing Sutherlin@ulm.edu.