First of all, this analysis should not be considered as a guarantee that the Iranian regime is falling apart or that it has inevitably fallen.
The fact remains that the regime in Tehran has powerful structures and institutions. It represents an empowered segment that cannot be easily removed via demonstrations. However, the importance of the people’s movement – which surprised us again just as it did in 2009 – is that it would help later on in entire or partial change.
Before talking about its repercussions on our region, we wonder about its effect on the Iranian regime, which will impact us accordingly. There are several possibilities. First, that security forces will suppress the demonstrations, as it did 8 years ago when it did not hesitate to kill unarmed demonstrators in front of phone cameras.
ALSO READ: Which way will the protests in Iran go?
The second possibility is that the regime will make some sacrifices, such as dismissing Rouhani and his government, to bring the crisis under control.
The third possibility is that the demonstrations will grow in size and violence will spread, which will make the opposition figures within the regime, whether the two opponents the Revolutionary Guard and army, benefit from the crisis. The fourth possibility, which is unlikely, is that the regime will fall and the situation will be like Syria and Libya.
For countries in the region, ideal scenario would be that the regime does not collapse but changes foreign policy and stops aggressive approachAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Defying the regime
Irrespective of whichever scenario plays out, the protesters are defying the regime in Tehran. Their confidence has been shaken in the eyes of the majority of Iranians and the world. This will continue to be the case even if demonstrations end in the next few days.
President Rouhani’s speech was supportive of this idea; that the government should listen to its citizens. As for the third and fourth possibilities, that a group would take over the regime or it would fall, it would be dangerous not only for Iran but for the entire region.
For countries in the region, especially Arab countries, the ideal scenario would be that the regime does not collapse but that it changes its foreign policy and stops its aggressive approach. This scenario may seem strange, but it’s justified that the region now suffers from a state of destruction that cannot afford new chaos, additional civil wars and millions of refugees.
But if the uprising of the Iranian people has made a change in the Iranian policy, stopped its foreign operations and forced the regime to start the internal reforms and development, this would be the perfect choice compared to the frightening scenario of the collapse of the regime.
The issue in this hypothesis is that the nature of the Iranian regime is not a civil one that is capable of changing itself, but rather a religious-security one, in other words fascist and religious. It is difficult to reform its thoughts, line and how it sees the world around.
This now depends on senior leaders, who must constantly meet because of the critical developments threatening the regime. If they withstand the crisis and learn their lessons, the regime may survive, but if they resist and decid to confront the demonstrators with bullets, this will not prevent future uprising.
Revolutionary Guards leaders, along with senior clerics, are arrogant and believe they can turn the republic into a regional empire that occupies countries in the region. They believe they can compete with international powers, threaten their interests in the Middle East. They seek to besiege Saudi Arabia, threaten Israel, and fight several wars at the same time.
This is the way arrogant people think. They disregard limits to Iranian power in a country whose people suffer, and whose economy is one of the poorest in the region.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed.