Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about what is happening in Iran.
The article reports:
In the mid-1980s, I asked a retired French diplomat whether he thought the Iranian regime would be overthrown within the next ten to fifteen years. It seemed plausible to me that the mullahs, who seemed to be ruining the country, would lose power by the end of the century.
The retired French diplomat had grown up in Iran, served France there among other countries, and maintained strong connections with and affection for Iranians. He knew the country and its people as well as anyone I was likely to encounter.
His view was that there would be no overthrow of the regime in the foreseeable future. He told me that Iranians tend to be passive followers, and therefore not prone to rebel.
He attributed the 1979 revolution to lack of resolve by the Shah and lack of support from the U.S. The mullahs, he was sure, would be more resolute, and thus would likely retain power for years.
More than 40 years after the revolution and at least 35 years after my conversation with the retired diplomat, the mullahs are still in power. There is talk, however, that their days are numbered.
They might well be. Whether passive or not by nature, Iranians are protesting in fairly large numbers. And even the retired French diplomat didn’t say the regime would hold power forever.
The article notes that the recent assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakzhirzadeh might be a sign that the regime is losing power.
The article quotes a New York Daily News article from early December written by Ray Takeyh, an Iranian-American, who is a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations:
First, it has often been suggested that no matter how unpopular the Islamist regime has become over the years, it is firmly in control of the country given its overlapping and omniscient intelligence services. Now, this widely accepted truism has to be called into question. In recent years, Iran’s nuclear installations have been sabotaged, its scientists killed and its secrets stolen.
Moreover, the country has been rocked by a series of demonstrations that its intelligence organs did not anticipate. To say the least, the Islamic Republic today suffers from persistent intelligence failure, an ominous sign for a regime that rules through fear.
…The second worrisome aspect for the Iranian regime has to be the probable collaboration of its own elites with a foreign power. These killings could not have taken place unless many in the system were so disenchanted with Islamist rule that they were willing to provide critical information to an adversary.
A regime is in trouble not only when its populace grows disenchanted but when important segments of its elite give up on the system. If those who are the chief beneficiaries of the system don’t believe in it, then who does? The Islamic Republic has long suffered from brain drain as its best and brightest have often chosen to leave the country, but now, it seems, even those who have stayed behind are starting to crack.
The article at Power Line Blog concludes:
Takeyh acknowledges that Iran’s current leaders are “made of tougher stuff than the Shah and his generals” and that therefore “The Islamic Republic may endure.” That’s probably how I would bet. But maybe I’m unduly influenced by the words of that retired French diplomat all those years ago.