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Iran: Following in the Footsteps of Saddam’s Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Just as some people argue that it is an oversimplification to say that the recent sanctions imposed on Iran will have an immediate impact on the regime, it is also wrong to say that the sanctions will be ineffective and do not pose a threat to Tehran.

The sanctions set a platform for harsher sanctions whether they are imposed by Washington or Europe and they might also set a platform for a war resolution. We should remember here the resolutions and sanctions that were imposed on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and he always viewed them carelessly until the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place in the US and a US administration longing to overthrow the former Iraqi regime came along and the rest is history. In Iran’s case, the aim is not to overthrow the current regime, as the regime is rejected internally on top of the international community’s opinion of it; rather Iran might find itself in an international military confrontation that will set it back decades and will affect the Faqih regime itself.

The danger of the fourth set of sanctions on Iran is that it caused the Mullah regime to lose its internal and external value. On the international level, the sanctions consolidate the rejection of Iran and everybody will abandon it soon, as at the end of the day [national] interests dominate and Iran will have nothing left but bandits i.e. rejected armed groups and suitcase traders. Moreover, because of the sanctions, Iran’s reputation is at risk as its ships, for example, will be subjected to inspection whether in the high seas or the Red Sea or even in the Mediterranean and this is extremely humiliating for the regime. Above all, the Iranian economic situation will suffer even more than it was suffering before, not to mention the regressive energy sector and the danger that will affect Iran’s ability to arm itself.

Internally, the current regime does not enjoy popularity; in fact it is accused of hijacking the presidential elections and the evidence of its lack of popularity is that the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said that the protests in the eight months following the elections were more dangerous to the Islamic Republic than the eight years of war with Iraq under Saddam Hussein. This means that the regime in Iran itself is losing its value and prestige. It is true that the regime will tighten its control internally but we must remember that the Shah’s regime did not collapse overnight but rather through continuous activity in a similar way to what is happening inside Iran today. The difference between Iran and other rejected states is that there is a real internal popular movement [against the regime] and it has a strong history and because of it there is real pressure on the Mullah regime just like that which caused the Shah to fall when he was at the peak of arrogance.

Therefore, no matter what the Iranian president says about the fate of the sanctions and that they should be thrown in the rubbish bin, the truth of the matter is that the regime will suffer a great deal because of the sanctions. It is true that some people are saying that Washington pursued India and Pakistan to prevent them from possessing nuclear weapons and still failed but we should also remember how the Soviet Union collapsed from within without any foreign bullets [being fired]. We must also remember that there is an important party to the equation of the battle with Iran that we must observe with caution and that party is Israel. Therefore, the sanctions are a threat to Iran in spite of what has been said and is being said.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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