Friday, February 12, 2010

Iran Update

Yesterday was the 31st anniversary of the Iranian revolution. It is usually a day when supporters of the regime attend massive government sponsored demonstrations where they chant death to Israel, death to America and burn effigies and display negative caricatures of the American President. This has not changed with the election of Barack Obama.

However in recent times these occasions have take on another aspect. Ever since last June's disputed Presidential election dissidents have used these occasions such as the anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis on the 4th of November or the religious ceremony of Ashura (Dec. 27, 2009), to come out in force to demonstrate their opposition to Ahmadinejad's government and the Islamic Republic itself. There has been sporadic violence on the streets of Tehran for nine months now. I am deeply familiar with the events surrounding the student demonstrations that occurred in Tehran in the summers of 1999 and 2003 as it was the subject of my 2004 M.Phil dissertation. There is no doubt in my mind that the ongoing unrest is more widespread, more organised and bloodier than these previous events. Consider this along with the reality that international pressure on Iran over it's nuclear programme is finally coming to a head. This tells me that 2010 is the year that the Iranian question will be answered. One of three things is going to happen this year.

1. America or Israel will bomb Iran's nuclear sites triggering a Middle East wide war. We can say bye bye to the global economic recovery if this happens.

2. The international community will finally hit Iran with tough sanctions that cripple the country leading to a massive escalation of unrest.

3. There will be a spectacular opening to Iran by the Obama administration (similar to Nixon's opening to China) which guarantees recognition and safety for the Islamic Republic in exchange for complete abandonment of Tehran's nuclear programme.

I am positive one of these three things will happen this year. So watch this space folks.

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