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Iran: Why the Mullahs Will Not Reform from Within

by Heshmat Alavi

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9597/iran-reform

  • Iran’s entire power structure and most of its civil society is centralized under the personal control of the Supreme Leader. In this way, Iran’s dictatorship is every bit as entrenched as North Korea’s, making the idea of traditional regime change a pipe dream.
  • The mullahs created a regime — an entrenched revolution — specifically designed to resist change or reform, adopting a unique theocratic structure that uses both Islamic ideology and brutal force to maintain absolute power.
  • There is but one regime, and it has no interest in “reform.”
  • The membership of every single one of the many official-sounding bureaucratic organs is personally approved by the Supreme Leader. Indeed, any individual, or coalition of individuals who might serve as a check on his absolute power is, in fact, completely beholden to Khamenei’s whims, making him the most complete and powerful dictator on the planet.
  • Elections in this regime are not indicative of any form of “democracy”. Instead, they are merely a process of choosing among individuals vetted by the Supreme Leader. There are no factions based upon ideological differences, there is mere jockeying for position and the personal favor of the Supreme Leader.
  • Western governments’ policy of providing concessions to the Iranian regime in order to empower “reformist” factions is based on a fantasy — a fantasy which the Iranian regime deliberately encourages in order to fool naïve foreign leaders into easing sanctions and turning a blind eye to the nuclear program. In reality Western concessions are strengthening Khamenei — further reducing the possibility of change, and increasing the likelihood of outright war.

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