FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Is Slow and Incremental Change is Preferable to a Violent Uprising?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may appear to some in the West to be a revolutionary keen on transforming Iran into a proto-Western ally. That is far from the truth, however. What he would prefer is a slow and steady development towards a normal balanced nation-state. He is by no means a Liberal-Democrat. In other words, he is keen to avoid violent sudden change likely to cause disruption similar to that caused by the so-called ‘Arab Spring’

As a result, of this gradual approach one should not see the nuclear framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 as a first step in revolutionary U-turn in Iranian domestic politics. The agreement offer a real opportunity to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but will not herald a new democratic dawn in which Iran respects all Human Rights as the International Community desires.

The agreement does not mean that the powerful forces within the Iranian leadership – Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards – that is strongly opposed to reform and closer ties to the West have suddenly melted away; on the contrary. For this reason President Rouhani must tread carefully when seeking to engage more positively with the western world. He may speak of changes but he cannot force them.

Nevertheless, there is one key factor on his side. The conservative leadership in Iran is aging and the population has a large youthful and dynamic base, which may no direct influence on the nuclear negotiations but which clearly will have a major say in Iran’s future.

The West had high opens that the younger generations could affect rapid change. It was excited by the Green Uprising in 2009 that saw thousands of Iranians publicly demonstrating against what was seen as a corrupt election process, only for that protest movement to be put down forcefully. Nevertheless, it was a clear indication of the strength of feeling within the country and the willingness to embrace political change.

While on the one hand the nuclear negotiations might wrongly encourage over- optimism that change will come soon, they should not on the hand dampen spirits if it becomes clear that an altered nuclear policy does not spell rapid domestic change.

Young Iranians have learned from their experiences in 2009. They still embrace the idea of change but are aware that they will have to adopt new strategies. Just as President Rouhani apparently does, they appear to accept that slow and incremental change in a country held in check by a suppressive regime is going to be more effective in the long run than attempted violent change or dramatic protest. Moreover, although the economy is severely weakened and their own economic prospects remain uncertain, at least Iran continues to enjoy relative security on the streets. A factor that has gained importance as other countries where violent revolution did occur have fallen into chaos. This is what gave Rouhani the leverage to become president.

The conclusion therefore must surely be that Rouhani will continue to gain support from many Iranians who accept that he may help them towards an easier and more comfortable life without having to ‘shake the boat’ so hard that the Regime will come on them with its more usual massive oppression. In this way, young people can fulfill their dream of a better more open life, while having to compromise on the speed at which that change will happen. Patience will then be the key both within the country and among those outside Iran who are all too eager to push the agenda of change.

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is a strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany.He is a regular contributor to World Tribune.com,Freepressers.com, Defense& Foreign Affairs and Counter Punch. Dr.Saremi is a member of the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) based in Washington,DC, USA.

More articles by:

Dr. Fariborz Saremi is an Iranian strategic analyst based in Hamburg/Germany.Dr.Saremi is a regular contributor for World Tribun.com,Freepressers.com and Defense & Foreign Affairs. At times he has been a commentator for the German TV, ARD/NDR.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 20, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Unipolar Governance of the Multipolar World
Rob Urie
Strike for the Environment, Strike for Social Justice, Strike!
Miguel Gutierrez
El Desmadre: The Colonial Roots of Anti-Mexican Violence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Pompeo and Circumstance
Andrew Levine
Why Democrats Really Should Not All Get Along But Sometimes Must Anyway
Louis Proyect
A Rebellion for the Wild West
T.J. Coles
A Taste of Their Own Medicine: the Politicians Who Robbed Iranians and Libyans Fear the Same for Brexit Britain
H. Bruce Franklin
How We Launched Our Forever War in the Middle East
Lee Hall
Mayor Obedience Training, From the Pet Products Industry
Louis Yako
Working in America: Paychecks for Silence
Michael D. Yates
Radical Education
Jonathan Cook
Israelis Have Shown Netanyahu the Door. Can He Inflict More Damage Before He Exits?
Valerie Reynoso
The Rising Monopoly of Monsanto-Bayer
John Steppling
American Psychopathy
Ralph Nader
25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare for the 2020 Elections
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid Made Official: Deal of the Century is a Ploy and Annexation is the New Reality
Vincent Emanuele
Small Town Values
John Feffer
The Threat of Bolton Has Retreated, But Not the Threat of War
David Rosen
Evangelicals, Abstinence, Abortion and the Mainstreaming of Sex
Judy Rohrer
“Make ‘America’ White Again”: White Resentment Under the Obama & Trump Presidencies
John W. Whitehead
The Police State’s Language of Force
Kathleen Wallace
Noblesse the Sleaze
Farzana Versey
Why Should Kashmiris be Indian?
Nyla Ali Khan
Why Are Modi and His Cohort Paranoid About Diversity?
Shawn Fremstad
The Official U.S. Poverty Rate is Based on a Hopelessly Out-of-Date Metric
Mel Gurtov
No War for Saudi Oil!
Robert Koehler
‘I’m Afraid You Have Humans’
David Swanson
Every Peace Group and Activist Should Join Strike DC for the Earth’s Climate
Scott Owen
In Defense of Non-violent Actions in Revolutionary Times
Jesse Jackson
Can America Break Its Gun Addiction?
Priti Gulati Cox
Sidewalk Museum of Congress: Who Says Kansas is Flat?
Mohamad Shaaf
The Current Political Crisis: Its Roots in Concentrated Capital with the Resulting Concentrated Political Power
Max Moran
Revolving Door Project Probes Thiel’s White House Connection
Arshad Khan
Unhappy India
Nick Pemberton
Norman Fucking Rockwell! and 24 Other Favorite Albums
Nicky Reid
The Bigotry of ‘Hate Speech’ and Facebook Fascism
Paul Armentano
To Make Vaping Safer, Legalize Cannabis
Jill Richardson
Punching Through Bad Headlines
Jessicah Pierre
What the Felicity Huffman Scandal Says About America
John Kendall Hawkins
Draining the Swamp, From the Beginning of Time
Julian Rose
Four Funerals and a Wedding: A Brief History of the War on Humanity
Victor Grossman
Film, Music and Elections in Germany
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ahmet Altan’s “I Will Never See the World Again”
David Yearsley
Jazz is Activism
Elliot Sperber
Captains of Industry 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail