A Reality Check on Iran

[Asia Times-Hong Kong ] David Isenberg - A new monograph by the RAND Corporation, a prominent U.S. think-tank, titled "Iran's Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities," finds that despite the theocratic basis of its state, most Iranians perceive the regime as legitimate. It notes, "The regime appears to be under no imminent danger of collapse or coup." "Ethnic cleavages persist in Iran but do not provide an easy means of swaying Iran's leadership. Although Persians, the dominant group, account for only half the population, Iranian governments have been relatively successful in inculcating an Iranian identity into citizens from most other ethnic groups by emphasizing Shi'ism as a unifying force and fostering Iranian nationalism." Gary Sick, who was on the staff of the National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, said, "It is not an effective strategy to try and overthrow the regime. It would require massive resources and a long, long time. This is a 2,500-year-old entity. Most tribes identify themselves as Iranian first; they are looking for more respect, not to overthrow the government." The report noted that during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, living standards plummeted. Yet opposition to the war was muted because most Iranians rallied around the flag.

2008-07-21 01:00:00

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