By Yahya al-Amir
Perhaps the best scenario that the world can wish for is this: the internal pressure on the Iranian regime increases, widespread protests erupt throughout the country, a popular resistance movement emerges, and the mullah regime finally collapses. Then a new Iranian leadership, led by moderate seculars, assumes power, drafts a new constitution, and rids the country of its theocratic ideology.
But this scenario is way too hopeful. The current Iranian regime, after 40 years of military and security buildup, will not allow such a scenario to unfold. If it feels threatened, it will go down in extreme chaos, repression and bloodshed at home.
A look back at Mike Pompeo’s speech last year, shortly after he was appointed secretary of state, would suffice to show that US policy toward Tehran is no longer just that of a change in behavior. The issue, in America’s eyes, lies with the system itself: “The regime that emerged in the 1979 Iranian Revolution will not last much longer,” Pompeo said in his speech. The Iranian street has known several attempts to protest against the regime. The Green Revolution of 2009 brought thousands of Iranians to the streets, where they were met with violence, repression and firepower. It is not unlikely that similar protests will once again erupt, this time with the support of the international community and Iranian diaspora communities. The strength of the Iranian opposition has certainly grown over the past few years.
The regime, in turn, will do everything in its power to deflect attention away from its own misdoings by wreaking further havoc in the Middle East. It will increase its attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz. It will also continue to drag the region into a war that everyone seeks to avoid.
Today, however, with new measures being taken by the [Persian] Gulf states toward the development, security and strengthening of the nation state, the isolation of Iran has become ever stronger. The Iranian regime has no goals or projects related to the development of Iranian society or the Iranian economy. It is focused solely on its political agenda.
The free world is finally beginning to recognize that security and stability in the region cannot be achieved, so long as the mullah regime continues to exist. It may have lasted for 40 years, but the Iranian regime is finally coming under existential pressure. As Pompeo put it, this regime will not last much longer.
Mr. Yahya al-Amir is a Saudi writer with Okaz newspaper and a media consultant.