Who Failed in Iran? Armenia's New Neighbor

    • Comments - 08 January 2018, 22:32
The unrest in Iran that started on December 28 seems to have calmed down. At least, the flow of information on massive protests and use of force by the government has stopped in the international press. Has the Iranian government succeeded in putting out the fire and for how long or have they been able to manage the information flow and prevent escalation at that level? It is hard to tell.

What is going on or happened in Iran has produced a controversial impression. It is not fully clear who put the situation on fire, what layers of the public were involved, and what was the external influence that the religious and the so-called secular authorities of Iran referred to or how the authorities used what was happening to weaken each other.

After all, who or what “failed” in Iran? Was the religious or clerical government in Iran stronger than the reformist president Hassan Rowhani? Or did any external attempt to destabilize Iran fail? The Iranian government accused Saudi Arabia, Israel, the United States.

Israel and the United States supported the demonstrators. The U.S. president Donald Trump promised assistance and the Israeli prime minister announced that democratic Iran will be Israel’s friend.

In addition, when the massive protests began in Iran, the press reported that the United States and Israel have agreed in Washington on a joint plan of actions to counteract to expansion of Iran’s military presence in the Near East and are forming 4 working groups.

At the same time, on January 5 when the Iranian unrest was going down, the spokesperson for the Department of State Heather Nauert made an interesting statement. She announced that the United States wants changes, not a revolution, in Iran.

What was this statement, a confession by the United States that something planned on Iran failed or was thwarted or a signal to the Iranian government that it has to cooperate with the United States otherwise next time the goal will be a revolution? Of course, it is hard to make confident conclusions. It should not be ruled out that the new U.S. administration does not have a uniform policy and approaches, and there are different teams with different visions of the policy and are therefore support the approaches and policy on Iran rather than those of President Trump.

The developments definitely required greater attention from Armenia equally for the worst scenario, the escalation, and the so-called post-fire situation.

What happened and what kind of internal correlation of forces will be induced by the past few days in Iran, as well as for the foreign political balance of Iran?

This is of high importance for Armenia, given the big Armenian community in Iran, as well as the national interests and security of Armenia.

The developments in Iran even caused a debate in Armenia on what regime in Iran would favor Armenia, the current clerical government or democracy? The debate could have a civilizational aspect, generally covering closed and open societies but a localized debate on Iran is far from being adequate.

Armenia needs a stable, predictable Iran which is sovereign, is a subject in regional policy, a power and at the same time a balance for security and sovereignty of Armenia.

Will this state of things be better ensured by current Iran or by democratic Iran? This question is hard to answer but it should not become a key issue for Armenia. The form of governance in Iran is up to the people of Iran, and what matters for Armenia is that Iran stays a strong element of regional balance and security.

From the point of view of change of government, it is more important to Armenia what will happen in Turkey, whether Erdogan will have a serious opponent in the 2019 presidential election who would remove him from government. Armenia has a bigger need for change of government in Turkey, and the question whether Armenia will have a new neighbor in Turkey is a more important question.