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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Is Iran Heading for a Collapse? – Internal Implications

Filed under: Iran

I will try to encapsulate everything that has been said here, and in my opinion, I think the Iranian regime is really heading toward some kind of collapse. I can’t determine the date and know the trigger for this collapse, but all the gathering storm is here. I think all the components of the storm are there, and we’ve seen the demonstrations in 2017 into 2018, and we’ve seen the riots were in the periphery. The last riots happened in the bazaar in Tehran and in other bazaars in other cities in Iran. I think a lot of segments of Iranian society are now revolting, and on top we can see women. You say, “me too,” and we see women revolting in Iran, whether it’s the headscarves or the dancing that we’ve seen all over the social networks, with all the retweets and other persons and other women dancing and uploading these dances to the networks.

I think we’ve seen more and more of the “No Lebanon, no Syria, no Hamas, no Palestinians,” and we have actually heard “Death to Palestinians!” in recent protests in Iran. I think if we try to connect the dots from the things that were said here, I think people are more and more aware of the price they are paying for the Iranian involvement in Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Bahrain, Morocco, and other places, and this chant, “No Lebanon or Syria. We are willing to die for Iran!” is not new. It occurred in the Green Revolution in 2009 and it’s there. It never left Iran and I think, in the long run, this cry, this chant will prevail, and the Iranian regime will find it more and more hard to confront these people. Also, it’s some kind of an anecdote that people are breaking charity boxes for Palestinians throughout Iran.

I think we are now in a period even before the sanctions are enforced, and we have the first bunch of sanctions in August against the automotive companies, against the metal market, and again the most crucial sanctions are up ahead in November, when the oil will be sanctioned, and this is the real fear of Iran. Up till now, (and we’ve written about this here in the Center) many companies – oil companies, automotive companies, banks, and other companies are leaving Iran. As was said here, more companies are reluctant to even to start a dialogue with the Iranian regime, to conduct businesses, and I think there was a very important news item that was missed. It’s the briefing of Mr. Hook that we’ve seen. We’ve seen his photo here at the beginning of this conference. He’s the head of planning at the State Department, and he’s going to say no waivers, no to remove sanctions from Iran, zero oil sales, and I think this is the line of policy that Americans are following. I think the Iranians already understand this policy when Rouhani and others say that Iran is going back to what the leaders said. This is the resistance economy. The Iranian regime is preparing the Iranian people for more hardships ahead.

If we go back to what Mr. Khaddem said here, the regime is going to collapse. I think this is how it is, but the most important problem is the day after. I think that the MEK is not an option. It was on the terrorist list of the Americans, if I’m not mistaken. It was maybe removed, but I think the most important issue for the Iranians, the Iranian people, is to find rightful, just opposition to form an opposition, a strong opposition, an opposition that will be accepted by the Iranian people. And I think with this opposition, we have seen more and more, as I said before. More and more segments of the Iranian people are revolting. It is the women, the students, the periphery, the Bazaaris, and we have to see that it’s also maybe the traders, the older, traditional Bazaaris, the middle class. We have seen more new people coming together to create the perfect storm in Iran, but I think one component will be crucial in this gathering storm, and this is some backing from the religious establishment, people like the late Ayatollah Montazeri that resisted, like Rafsanjani, maybe, that resisted the current regime, this religious-based regime. I think this will be a very good indicator to see whether people from the religious establishment will support this revolt, this uprising of the Iranian people, and come together to support it, to back it, to give it the clearance to go ahead and start the change of this regime.