Iran’s Revolution Is Ending, Not Beginning

Op-Ed: What could come next for Iran after the Islamic Republic? This must be the hardest question any policymaker or advocate can ask. What happens next for Iran after the Islamic Republic is established? What happens after Khamenei is gone? What then? The truth is the Islamic Republic is not a country in full operation—not yet.

In the next week Iran will celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, but it is not a country on the threshold of a new era. Khamenei and his associates believe their time in power is ending, not beginning. They have begun a process of purging Iran’s judiciary, security apparatus, and political institutions from the country’s past, and they have done so with the help of a country that, in many respects, now acts to protect them.

Inevitably, it is the United States that is perceived as the greatest threat to Iran’s nascent statehood. President Donald Trump has used bellicose language to threaten Iran with a range of outcomes should Iran choose to confront sanctions. He has accused Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of making a deal with the devil. His administration has suggested an expansion in sanctions and threatened the regime with an “economic war” if it does not come to the table.

All of this is completely unjustified and counterproductive. This is a country in the midst of a revolution, under the shadow of a military dictatorship. Yet, as much as America may dislike the Islamic Republic’s current government, it has no business threatening the revolution with the sort of economic threats that come with its nuclear program or its support for a missile program that can deliver nuclear warheads.

While Iran has been under pressure by Washington and its allies, its ability to resist, to avoid confronting U.S. actions in the region has been limited. Even as the Islamic Republic has come to understand that it needs to better resist Western efforts to punish it over its nuclear programs, its ability to resist sanctions has been limited.

That, at least according to Iran’s leaders.

Last year, the Guardian of the Islamic World

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