USADI Dispatch

Volume VI, No. 15

A publication of the U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran

  June 23, 2009




A Revolution in the Making?
Commentary by the U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran

June 23, 2009

Back in July 2005, just a few days after “selection” of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president by the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, we commented that the well-organized political coup “engineered by the notorious Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), cements the dominance of the ultra-conservative faction of the ruling regime over all key levers of power in Iran."

We added that “The ruling regime has just gone through its most drastic political shake-up since its coming to power in 1979. With failure of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s 16-year attempt at cohabitation with his powerful, yet rival partners, chief among them former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, major power realignment was completed when Ahmadinejad became President. … Rafsanjani had become a liability, rather than an asset, in the face of mounting challenges by a restive society and growing international pressure. The state as whole could no longer absorb a schism at the top.

We warned that “Ahmadinejad’s win also serves as a wake-up call that we are indeed dealing with an irreformable fundamentalist regime that has all centers of theocratic power, the judiciary, the Parliament and now the presidency” under Khamenei’s control” and that “The ruling regime is incapable of change... Only when Iran tyrants are unseated by the Iranian people, this growing regional and global menace will be neutralized.”

And we predicted that “the political coup launched by the office of Khamenei and executed by the IRGC to bring Ahmadinejad out of the ballot box could very well turn out to be the mullahs' unraveling under the mounting weight of domestic and international pressure.”

On June 12, the factional coup culminated, as we had expected, in total purge of the rival factions when Ali Khamenei in collision with the Council of Guardians and the feared Revolutionary Guards declared Ahmadinejad the winner. Unable to resolve the rift without weakening his own leadership position, Khamenei instead opted to end the bleeding by getting rid of the rivals. Although in 2005 Khamenei dealt a sever blow to Rafsanjani’s faction by placing the until-then obscure Ahmadinejad at the presidential helm, he failed to end it. In June 2009, Rafsanjani came back with a vengeance to severely weaken Khamenei by defeating his hand-picked president. With an eye on position of Supreme Leadership, he put all his resources behind Mirhossein Mousavi and brought him back to the political arena after almost twenty years of hiatus.

In summer of 2007, observing a trend in the rise of public acts of dissent in all walks of life particularly among women, students and workers, we concluded that Iran rulers were sitting on sea of popular discontent which could explode at any moment. We commented that “Without gallows and public hangings, without TV “confession” travesty, without kidnapping and torture of dissidents, the tyrant mullahs would not be able to keep their house of cards. Without a reign of terror, they would not be able to quell the rising opposition to their nuclear program and financing of terrorism in Iraq using the oil revenue while more than half of Iran’s population lives in poverty.”

Ayatollahs’ own analysts had a similar view. In June 2007, just a few days after major uprisings sparked by sudden announcement of rationing fuel shook Iran, a major state-run daily, Etemad, acknowledged that there are mounting economic, health, transportation and bread and butter issues that have turned the society into a barrel of explosives where anything could ignite it. “It does not matter what the event is; it could be the loss of the national soccer team, sudden loss of electricity, the cutting off of the drinking water, or the sudden and unexpected rationing of the fuel... They all can spark a riot... Although most of these riots are put down after the security and military agencies intervene, every act of riot adds to the collective memory of the people who will use it as capital or a learned experience for the next uprising.”

Reflecting the mullahs’ fear of the enemy within, Newsweek reported in June of 2007 that “In the name of national security and what they call ‘public order,’ Iran's hard-liners are frantically lashing out at anyone they imagine might somehow pose a challenge to their increasingly unpopular rule.” It added that the mullahs are “especially fearful of feminists, trade unionists and the like... The big fear is a repetition of the people-power uprisings that toppled antidemocratic regimes a few years ago in the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine...”

And in August of 2007, we commented that “As mullahs are skillfully exploiting this paralysis, a close look at Iran’s internal dynamics, on full display in a series of anti-government demonstrations since April, provides all the tell-tell signs of a tyranny in the existential fear of its own people.”

Now on eve of the 10th anniversary of the 1999 student uprising which shook the foundations of the ruling mullahs to the ground, millions of Iranian, not just women and students, are in the midst of a brave uprising with chants of “death to Khamenei”. After events of the past ten days, there is no turning back for either side. Khamenei gambled big and has hastened his regime’s ultimate downfall.


Dictatorships’ demise often begins or speeds up when they experience rifts at the top of their pyramid of power. These regimes rule through fear and terror and any rift at the top emboldens the subjugated populace and public acts of dissent become rampant. This in turn deepens the split at the top when it is so deep that it can no longer patched up even for the sake of survival of the whole ruling system. This is the case in Iran and it is even more pronounced since its system of governance is a theocratic tyranny and the religious aspect of it causes a much more sever unraveling.


This uprising is still in its infancy and has a way to go to topple the clerical rule. It has to find a competent and unwavering leadership, develop organization and find ways to overcome the mullahs’ horrific multi-layered security apparatus. The movement, however, has the core component of a viable movement for change: Iranian women and men who are willing to sacrifice for the cause of freedom.

We salute them and bow our heads to their awareness, courage, and steadfastness. (USADI)

USADI Commentary reflects the viewpoints of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran in respect to issues and events which directly or indirectly impact the US policy toward Iran

The US Alliance for Democratic Iran (USADI), is an independent organization, which aims to advance a US policy on Iran that will benefit America through supporting Iranian people’s aspirations for a democratic, secular, and peaceful government. The USADI is not affiliated with any government agencies, political groups or parties.
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