Iran: You Can't Touch Me

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November 4, 2007: The government continually plays up the likelihood of an American attack, and how the nation must unite to resist this aggression. The government, with the support of less than 20 percent of the population, needs an external threat to defuse any rebel movements inside the country. Iran has so far managed to terrorize the majority of Iranians into submission with a combination of force (quick police action, jail, or attacks by gangs of pro-government thugs) and distribution of oil revenues to those who cooperate. Added to this has been a propaganda campaign that stresses efforts by the West, especially the United States, to hurt Iran. Unrest among the half of the population that is not ethnic Iranian, is blamed on foreigners, as are the country's economic ills (high unemployment and lack of opportunity). It works.

November 3, 2007: Western nations are proposing more sanctions on Iran, in an effort to coerce Iran into halting its nuclear weapons program. Sanctions don't work very well, and often backfire. The leaders of nations hit by sanctions don't feel the heat, but the general population does. The leaders generally drum up a propaganda campaign that shifts blame to evil foreigners. Recent attempts to target sanctions at the leadership have been more successful, but not decisive. The leaders cannot travel as much as they used to, and have to spend more money to import goodies for themselves.

October 28, 2007: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency (the IAEA, or International Atomic Energy Agency) believes that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA itself is officially unsure. Intelligence agencies in many major nations (France and U.S., for example) disagree with the IAEA leader (who has been wrong before). Russia and China are also supporting the IAEA opinion, largely in order to protect economic interests with Iran (buying oil and selling Iran weapons and nuclear power plants).

October 24, 2007: The U.S. imposed sanctions on about two dozen Iranian organizations and individuals. This round of sanctions was meant to make it more difficult for Iranians to use the international banking system.

 

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