Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Where Will the Opposition Stand? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The country is Iran and the internal opposition there is the reformist Green Movement and the battles are twofold: economic and military, the latter of which cannot be completely ruled out.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, leader of the reformist opposition, which found itself on the receiving end of accusations from the Iranian authorities of communicating with the West, raised his voice warning that he will stand against the foreign threat on behalf of the Iranian nation. Also he did not miss the opportunity to announce that the government is responsible for the internal crisis; in other words he has taken a “patriotic” position against foreign aggression and seized the regime by its collar.

By taking this position, Mousavi has begun to resemble a political fox and this is not to be sneezed at. He is adopting this position for two reasons: firstly, out of fear that he will soon be accused of treachery, as he realized that a large part of the Iranian nation supports the nuclear project. Secondly, Mousavi and his fellow opposition leaders are really benefiting from every crisis taking place between Ahmadinejad’s government and the West. The international pursuit and the blockade are pushing Ahmadinejad to rely on his troubled country internally and as a result Ahmadinejad is now stuck between a rock and a hard place, i.e. internal opposition and the international blockade.

We are now facing an incredible game of nerves, as the West has intensified pressure on the Ahmadinejad government and is benefiting from the open battle between government symbols in Tehran. The Iranian opposition is seeking to exploit the nuclear crisis in its own way, as it is playing a game of one-upmanship with the Ahmadinejad government and criticized it once when it tried to accept foreign enrichment and accused it of letting down the Iranian people, which forced the government to withdraw [from this position].

As a result, Ahmadinejad is confused; he does not know whether he should take a step back from reconciling with the opposition and bridging the divide or withdraw from his nuclear position in order to prevent the imminent international sanctions.

It is apparent from Ahmadinejad’s panic decisions that he is confused and doesn’t know which way to turn especially after Russia turned against him, and then China joined the team for sanctions. It almost committed the biggest folly last week when it wanted to impose [new] taxes in order to alleviate the government of its sufferings and if it did that then the regime would have been crushed by the starving masses. It also withdrew that project.

Ahmadinejad is also secretly trying to communicate with the West, as he is sending messages to try to stop the progression of sanctions. Via his foreign minister, he sent [a message] calling for the resumption of negotiations on foreign enrichment, a project that he stopped because of the internal opposition. If he stops enrichment that means practically suspending his nuclear projects and an end to his dream for which he fought the world. At that point, the opposition will begin to poke fun at him for giving into the West.

Since the elections last June, Ahmadinejad has not wanted to offer any concessions to any side and he is realizing now that he must choose between confronting the international opposition and confronting the internal opposition, and both pose a threat to his regime.

The developments of the foreign confrontation are very important for the internal opposition regarding foreign accounts; this is what makes Mousavi want to disrupt official communication between Tehran and the West, openly stating that he will stand with the Iranian nation against any foreign aggression and beating the drums of war. Mousavi knows that if Ahmadinejad succeeds at reconciling with the West in whichever way then he will be easy prey.