Iran in the foreseeable future

Mohammed Al Shaikh
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It seems the Americans are serious about uprooting the Vilayat-e Faqih regime in Iran but the question most international political circles are asking is: How will the scenario unfold?

The most likely scenario is the Revolutionary Guards’ coup on the Iranian political scene and pushing the mullahs to the backseat. Those who control the security situation in most Iranian provinces are the cadres of the Revolutionary Guards who stay out of sight behind the supreme leaders’ turban. If the economic and security situation further escalates, many think the Revolutionary Guards’ generals will themselves take over power and directly govern without hesitation.

Iran will become a state with a purely military regime as I don’t think the Revolutionary Guards Corps and its generals will give up power and the domination over political and economic decisions no matter what the consequences are.

The second scenario is that the economic sanctions which the US will impose and the collapse of the currency will lead to a civil war and Iran will thus disintegrate into several ethnic and sectarian statelets like what happened in Yugoslavia. What’s certain is that the mullahs via their current policy, especially after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and threatened to punish companies that deal with the Iranian regime, will suffocate Iran. It doesn’t seem that the mullahs’ government will rationally deal with its dangerous economic situation. This means breakup then collapse is around the corner.

The fall of the Iranian mullahs’ sectarian and expansive policies will change the region’s situation drastically, and it seems the Americans are also convinced of this.

Mohammed Al Shaikh

It’s true that collapse may be delayed a little but amid the current US-Iranian relations and the Europeans’ submission, Iran will only be left with Russia, China and India. It seems Russia really wants to get rid of the Iranian alliance which it had an interest in by intervening to support Assad. Now, however, it seems that Russia has given Iran a cold shoulder and finds Iranian presence on Syrian soil embarrassing before Israel. When it comes to Russia’s top priorities, Israel comes before the Iranians.

This is in addition to the fact that the active Saudi diplomacy, especially regarding energy and controlling the oil market made the Russians feel that their economic interests require coordination and cooperation with the kingdom. Needless to say that any Saudi-Russian rapprochement will be at the expense of Russian-Iranian cooperation.

The massive Saudi oil investments in the Indian and Chinese markets will make both countries whom Iran relies on to market its oil to reconsider their calculations and base their decisions on what suits their interests and not what suits Iran’s interests.

All this will further suffocate Iran and worsen its economic and security conditions. The only thing the Iranians can do is to tolerate this situation and try to buy time in hopes that President Trump’s term ends and another president, who is not as strong and decisive as Trump, is elected. However all available indicators show that Trump will serve another presidential terms, i.e. sanctions will stay in effect and the mullahs will not be able to tolerate this anymore. Of course, this if we assume the mullahs are still in power and that the Revolutionary Guards’ generals have not staged a coup against them, as the most likely scenario indicates, and eliminated them from the scene.

I think the fall of the mullahs’ sectarian and expansive policies will change the region’s situation drastically, and it seems the Americans are also convinced of this.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Mohammed Al Shaikh is a Saudi writer with al-Jazirah newspaper. He tweets @alshaikhmhmd

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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