Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail