How Wobbly Is the Iranian Regime?
As the old year ended the Iranian regime found itself being challenged on the streets as it had been last summer. Ray Tayekh of the Council on Foreign Relations sees it this way:
Recent events are eerily reminiscent of the revolution that displaced the monarchy in 1979: A fragmented, illegitimate state led by cruel yet indecisive men is suddenly confronting an opposition movement that it cannot fully apprehend. It is premature to proclaim the immediate demise of the theocratic regime. Iran may well be entering a prolonged period of chaos and violence. In the aftermath of recent disturbances, however, it is obvious that the lifespan of the Islamic Republic has been considerably shortened.
In his view the present regime is in much the same state that the Shah was in 30 years ago: unwilling to broaden his political base and not decisive enough to take action against those who opposed him.
If this report is correct and the regime has purchased anti-riot armored vehicles (pictured above) from China, deliveries of which having now begun after a four month wait, it would seem to indicate that the regime is not so indecisive after all and is preparing itself to oppose the protesters more effectively.
That would be consistent with my view: that the Iranian regime has the cashflow and the will to avoid being removed by a velvet revolution. Without an organized opposition and a visible leader to serve as a rallying point and with the means and international support to maintain its hold on power, any notion that we may be seeing the last of the reprehensible Iranian regime may be so much wishful thinking.
If the report is true, it would also seem to cast some doubt on any ideas that the Chinese are prepared to support anything that would resemble effective sanctions against the regime. Contrariwise, the Chinese authorities seem to be doubling down.
And, as a veto-wielding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China must support any measures for them to be put in place.