Tehran Suffers Image Damage Amid Turmoil; Unrest Makes Other Regimes Wary

[Wall Street Journal] Yaroslav Trofimov - The turmoil in Iran is threatening to reshape the balance of power in the Middle East, denting the Islamic Republic's regional standing and spooking some Arab regimes with the specter of similar people-power uprisings. Not long ago, Iran seemed to be inexorably rising as the major regional power, with Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric against America and Israel garnering him a devoted following on the Arab street. But, over the past week, the vivid TV images have punctured Iran's carefully constructed image as a champion of the oppressed masses. "It's no longer the same Iran - Iran suddenly appears to everybody as not a very successful country internally," says Ilter Turkmen, a former Turkish foreign minister. Mahmoud Musleh, a prominent Hamas member of the Palestinian legislature, charged that "Israel is standing behind what's going on in Iran" and added that the Islamic Republic will defy its foes' expectations and emerge strengthened by the current crisis. "Iran will overcome this ordeal easily," Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah declared.

2009-06-24 06:00:00

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