Iran: Reformers Create A New Coalition

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December 16, 2007: The CIA announcement, that they believe Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003, had some interesting side effects. First of all, many intel experts don't believe the report, mainly because it is based on slender evidence. If true, it shows that Iran was also deceived into believing that Saddam was trying to develop nuclear weapons. For Iran, the war with Saddam had not ended. Saddam, and the Iraqi Sunni Arabs he led, were still seen as a major threat to Iran. Once the Americans took out Saddam, it made sense to ease back on the nuclear weapons effort. The "moderate" Islamic radicals were never willing to do anything that would threaten Iran's very existence (nuclear war with anyone would do that.) But the extreme Islamic radicals, as represented by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, openly talk about destroying Israel. The older religious leaders would tend to do something like shutting down the nuke program, once the immediate threat was eliminated, to avoid tempting the radical radicals from doing anything self-destructive.

The CIA nuke report contained some other bombshells, as far as Iranians are concerned. One was "Operation Brain Drain," which encouraged and assisted Iranian scientists and weapons technicians to get out of the country and go live somewhere else. Most educated Iranians need little encouragement to get out, and away from the religious police state and high unemployment. That the CIA has a program that helps people escap annoyed a lot of Iranians because they had not been contacted by the CIA yet. Meanwhile, the economy continues to stumble. Inflation is up again, from 17 percent earlier this year, to 19 percent. This, and the seemingly endless persecution by the religious dictatorship, has finally united the many factions in Iran that oppose the un-elected government. The 21 parties in the coalition contain some that are Islamic conservatives, giving the coalition some protection from persecution. The Islamic conservatives in the coalition are also able to lobby the senior clerics to allow all candidates to run, not just those approved by Islamic conservatives.

Iran still has lots of Arab enemies, mainly the Sunni Arab states across the Gulf, who see Iran as a threat. The Iranians see themselves as the natural and traditional leader for the region, and that's exactly the problem as far as the Arabs are concerned. A recent meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (a Sunni Arab group) insisted that there can be no peace with Iran until Iran withdraws from small islands claimed by both Arabs and Iranians (and held by force by Iran).

Meanwhile, Iran's overseas espionage effort is having a rough time. Neighboring Azerbaijan recently sentenced several men to prison, on charges of being Iranian agents and plotting to overthrow the Azeri government. About a quarter of the Iranian population is Azeri, and there are factions within the Azeri community who would like to merge the Azeri portions of Iran with Azerbaijan. The Azeris are Turkic, while the ethnic Iranians are Indo-European. Fortunately for the Iranians, many Azeris are found among the senior clerics running the current government. In Europe, Iranian spies, especially those passing as diplomats.

 

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