I need to reopen the conversation on isolating Iran through sanctions. Let’s start with this presumption: the mullahs are not going anywhere. They will not be overthrown or pushed out because of a few puny sanctions. In fact, the political-fundamentalists among them will be strengthened by sanctions because it will mean that most of the population will become dependent on their good graces. Sanctions also mean that the group in power will become the lone voice inside of Iran. It’s already hard enough to have any diversity of opinion.
The regime welcomes the threat of attack. The only way for them to unite is against a common enemy. Unity is what they long for. Unity is what they do not have. Achieving unity presupposes a common enemy.
So, isolating Iran plays into the hands of the political-fundamentalists by making them an even stronger voice in this country and by giving them an enemy. Hurray.
Iran is not waiting to become America or Europe. Iran minus the regime does not equal freedom or democracy as much as Iranians would like you to believe. You need to have a public debate and free speech before you get democracy. That’s a lot harder than it might sound.
The publicly sanctioned arguments are those of degrees here in Iran. They do not represent true opposition. Those involved meticulously filter the voices that get heard. When they fall out with those in power, their voices are also filtered. Lo and behold! They are surprised that after a career of keeping others quiet, they can longer be heard.