There’s a famous Arabic saying: “Chaos does not come individually; it comes in groups” and this is exactly what is happening in Iran. The country is being shaken by nationwide protests, the value of their riyals has deteriorated, the US Congress has voted on punishing the country, while fires burned as its biggest oil tanker collided with a cargo carrier on Chinese beachfronts.
Even if protests decrease in the streets, they are increasing on various other mediums.
Protests alone are not enough to remove the regime that based its existence on a satanic configuration made by religious forces, the Basij militia, the Revolutionary guard and intelligence agencies. They blocked most internet services, social media platforms, and imprisoned 5,000 people who are sentenced to death disregarding international public opinion.
Because the Wilayat al-Faqih state cares about its image internally and externally, we must not be surprised if it expands its military operations, looking for external victories to mend their internal woundsAbdulrahman al-Rashed
But when it is faced with all these catastrophes resulting from international, public and economic pressure, it will budge. Either the regime has to partially change, like what happened in China, or it has to fully change like what happened in Russia, or it has to change through phases as seen in Egypt, or collapse peacefully, as seen in the governments of Eastern Europe or collapse completely like what happened in Libya.
Iranian regime obstacles
It is not tough for the regime to try and suppress the uprising, and face the protests head on like they are doing now and like they did eight years ago. However, the Wilayat al-Faqih regime suffers from a number of serious ailments. The first is that this regime has been in power for 40 years without developing itself or answering to its people’s new generational needs.
The regime also suffers from internal conflicts, including conflicts between the clergy that have surfaced and threaten its unity. It is now paying the price of its religious and military leaders’ aspirations, who have entered into dangerous and costly regional wars. It is impossible for them to achieve permanent control for Iran because of the regional rejection of their expansion.
Lastly comes the enmity of great powers, specifically the US under the leadership of President Trump, who have decided to keep an eye on Tehran’s associations and plans to target them. They have already begun to pressure them technically, commercially and politically.
These collective factors are able to destroy this extremist theological country that refuses to change, develop and coexist, and insists on starting wars and spreading terrorism.
Their eventual fall
The latest protests are a very important indicator, showing that the regime has lost what was left of its popularity even in rural areas that once supported it. It was previously believed that Tehran residents and the middle class who revolted in 2009 do not decide Iran’s fate, but it is actually the regime’s support base outside the capital.
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The regime created by Khomeini is deteriorating, and will collapse either gradually or very soon, not only because regional and international powers want this, but because more importantly, internal forces in the country are now opposing the regime.
And because the Wilayat al-Faqih state cares about its image internally and externally, we must not be surprised if it expands its military operations, looking for external victories to mend their internal wounds. The Iranian republic does not have enough financial resources to fix its economy that has gotten worse since the widespread protests, and if it increases its military activity externally, it will get even worse.
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.