Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Islamic Republic Only Responds to Real Power

President Ahmadi Nejad of Iran has signalled the Islamic Republic's positive view towards Russian step-by-step nuclear offer. The offer has been on the table for a long time but the Islamic Republic had categorically rejected it before. The question is what has forced Tehran to change its view now.

Perhaps we should search for the reason on the other side of the globe in Washington. The US State Department is reviewing its terrorist organisations list. And the People's Mojahedin E Khalgh (MEK) of Iran, the most organised opposition group to the regime of Tehran, has a real chance of being removed from the list. While the Tehran's recent response may well be a tactical one to derail the possibility of the MEK removal from the list; it once again corroborates the true nature of a regime which is extremely vulnerable against its own people, internally. 

Conscious of this reality combined with the fact that the MEK is the only group among the opposition of the IRI abroad capable of standing against the Tehran's military machine; the IRI had no choice but to take a much more prudent approach. Especially after Egypt; now in Libya and imminently in Syria; the Iranians are witnessing how easy is to get rid of a dictator. The IRI therefore decided to utilise its main bargain chip, the disputed uranium enrichment, against the US. However, at the time of writing the IRI mobilizes its former president, Muhmmad Khatami, the West-sweetheart, as well to publicly announce his intention to run for the presidency in the coming presidential election next year. Both the nuclear signal and the Khatami's announcement are designed to cloud the State Department's mind. But what the IRI also flagged inadvertently was its vulnerability and apprehension. The IRI will do, I believe, whatever it takes to hinder the possibility of the MEK's removal from the list first. And it will also go to any extent necessary to keep the flares of the Egyptian; Libyan; and the Syrian revolutions away from the highly flammable Iran's society.

But the US must be very cautious in dealing with President Ahmadi Nejad and his friends in Tehran. Their announced readiness to discuss the Russian nuclear offer is only that; "readiness to discuss", nothing more. It does not necessarily mean anything. They have over played this tactic before and are known for using such tactics as long as it serves their purpose. It is now up to the US as to whether it falls into the same trap once again or not.

The MEK's members are the only people determined enough to stand and fight back the kind of atrocities committed against the peaceful Iranians by the Revolutionary Guards; its paramilitary branch(Basijis); police; and their plain cloths organised pressure groups over two years ago. The IRI therefore sees the MEK as the only credible threat, in a sense of fighting its fully-armed military machine, to its existence. As a matter of fact, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it has done all it could through its proxies in Iraq to eliminate this group in Camp Ashraf.

The US has a golden opportunity to remove the group from its terrorist list now; and assisting itself by assisting the Iranians in their battle towards human rights and democracy.

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