Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of thugs.
Even for a country that prides itself on its revolutionary credentials, Iran has been unusually bellicose in recent weeks, rejecting a nuclear deal it had earlier appeared to embrace and threatening to build new uranium-enrichment plants in defiance of international restrictions.
One reason, Iran specialists say, is that the embattled regime fears showing weakness in the face of persistent domestic political opposition and rising foreign pressure. Some even question whether supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Shi’ite Muslim cleric chosen to lead the country 20 years ago, is still in charge.
Ayatollah Khamenei may instead now be subordinate to the Revolutionary Guards and other paramilitary forces that keep his government afloat.
Patrick Clawson, an Iran specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the country’s decision-making abilities appear paralyzed. That may be why Iran has so far failed to follow through with a deal it accepted in principle in October to transfer nuclear materials to Russia and France for further processing.
Divisions within the ruling establishment probably offer the best hope for the ultimate triumph of democratic forces. The more internal squabbling, the better!