Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

30 Years Later and Tehran is Waiting for Repentance | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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After approximately 30 years, everything has changed in Iran except the regime. What has happened in Tehran 30 years later? Public repentance has come over the architects of the old era.

Many of the activists of that era abandoned their revolutionary ideologies including highly extremist elements such as the leader of the US embassy takeover in 1979 who became an advocator of reconciliation. A number of political leaders also renounced their revolutionary ideologies such as Hashemi Rafsanjani, faithful disciples of Ayatollah Khomeini such as Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi who served as Prime Minister of Iran during the Khomeini era, as well as dozens of clerics, ministers and ambassadors. They all gave up their revolutionary ideologies and embraced nationalist thought and the concept of the modern Iranian state. But the power game kept hold of the most extremist elements, and we are now watching as another era repeats itself.

Though the repentant figures from the old generation that founded the current regime might not constitute a majority, the overwhelming majority of the new generation of Iranians certainly does not share the same old concept; rather, this majority supports the concept of the state. This is what caused the shock in last June’s presidential elections, as most Iranians have nothing to do with the ideology of the revolution. They do not aim to export it and they do not care about how Arabs or Pakistanis live or what the Americans are doing; they only want to change their difficult internal conditions.

This is why we see a change in ideas with regards to the 30th anniversary of the US embassy crisis. The authorities deployed its security forces to prevent protests in front of the embassy out of fear that they would demand changing the Iranian regime itself. These are historic moments that express a strong desire to break free from a legacy that has overburdened the Iranians and worried the world for three consecutive decades; a legacy that has reached such a degree that Ahmedinejad’s leadership can no longer ignore it.

Iran’s leadership, which wants to impose a solution on the Lebanese, the Palestinians, the Yemenis and others, is now facing the same challenge. There are those who want to impose a policy that differs to its own policy. The only difference is that what is happening internally in Iran developed naturally and evolved from the womb of a local crisis. Despite the regime’s attempts to promote the idea that [the crisis] was created at the hands of foreign powers, it has failed to invalidate all the clear signs that this crisis was a local creation. If the Iranian regime had enough confidence in itself then it would have let the day pass as normal. However, the regime was scared and it warned the Iranians against the consequences of protesting, excluding only those who would support the regime on the anniversary of the US embassy takeover. The regime knew beforehand that millions of Iranians would take to the streets raising green flags and protesting against the Iranian government.

Whether or not Iran manages to build its nuclear bomb or succeeds in stationing thousands of Basij troops and Iranian Revolutionary Guards, change is bound to come to the very city that residents managed to change by marching through the streets over 30 years ago. It was the Shah who began the nuclear bomb project, built a mammoth army and openly proclaimed his desire to be the regional policeman and nothing less. But his ambition abroad prevented him from understanding what was going on internally. His nuclear deterrent, his army and his regional ambitions proved to be of no use to him. Now the religious regime in Tehran is committing the same folly. I am not referring here to its nuclear project, but rather to its challenge against the desire of millions of Iranians seeking change.