Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Coherence in Washington, Disarray and Confusion in Tehran

Safa Haeri, Iran Press Service:
As for the first time since it came to power the Bush Administration is addressing seriously and concretely ways and means of bringing a change in the Iranian clerical-led leadership – and it starts to bring fruits --, the political atmosphere in Tehran is full disarray and chaos.

According to an article in the “Washington Post”, the Administration is summoning scholars for advice, creating an Iran Office at the State Department, biffing up the number of the Iran Desk from the present two persons to ten, allocating a 75 to 85 million dollars for helping Iranian opposition inside and outside as well as increasing the power of Iranian media beamed to Tehran.

Probably, one of the best ideas is about to form a team of “ayatollahologues like the kremlinologues” that existed during the cold war to understand to working of the mind of the ayatollahs. READ MORE

The key word of the regime change programme by peaceful and democratic means isseparation of the people from the regime”, the article says.

“This point is very important as the Iranian propaganda is playing more and more on the nationalist string of the Iranians, sending Islam in the backbench, as they always do when they feel real danger approaching, said one Iranian political analyst.

As an example, he said while 90 per cent of the Iranians are in favour of IRAN possessing an atomic weapon, the same percentage is against THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC having it, the emphasis being on the difference the Iranians makes between a nationalist, secular, democratic Iranian nation and government they would like to have with this theocratic regime the majority of them considers as stranger.

"Amrican leaders must all the time stress on that important point that America is a friend of the Iranian people, that if they are taking strong actions against the regime is because their leaders are belligerants, refusing detente and friendship, exactely what President Bush and Secretary of the Statre are doing now", he added.

Contrary to Washington, were activities about Iran is getting more coherent and centralized, in Tehran; the decision-making is in full confusion.

On Sunday, Hamid Reza Asefi, the official senior spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry made headline telling the semi-official Students News Agency ISNA that the Russian proposal (for enriching uranium for Iran in Russia) is “no more on the table”.

He was immediately badly reprimanded by his minister, who, like other high-ranking officials, assured that the project is “still being studied by Iran”.

Even this proposal is hotly debated in Iran, with some among both the more radicals and the more pragmatics considering continuing dancing with Moscow might be the Mollahrchy’s last change to avoid possible sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, others, also from both camps, think this is a catastrophe for Iran as it would place the country at the mercy of the Russians.

Also last week, the Interior Minister, Hojjatoleslam Mostafa Pourmohammadi indirectly but quite explicitly hinted that the Islamic Republic might use its oil as a weapon if thing get serious at the Security Council.

Such a threat had been raised before by Mr. Javad Va’idi, one of the senior Iranian nuclear negotiators after the International atomic watchdog decided to refer Iran’s nuclear case to the Security Council.

But both were immediately contradicted by other officials, including the Oil Minister and some members of the Supreme Council on National Security assuring that Tehran is not – at least for the time being – considering such possibility.

Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, an intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of dissident intellectual and politicians appointed as the Executive Editor of the radical daily “Keyhan” by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i and considered as one of the most influential brains of the ruling conservatives continue to urge the government to get out of the Non Proliferation Treaty and follow the example sat by the Stalinist regime of North Korea, Mr. Ali Larijani, the Secretary of the SCNS who is the coordinator of he nuclear issue and Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Foreign Affairs Minister are saying not only Iran would continue its membership of the NPT, but is still looking to renew talks with the European Troika.

One reason for this unprecedented chaos is that for the first time, signals coming from Washington are clear. The Office of the Leader, where all key decisions are taken, for the first time feels with no ambiguity that after years of indecision, wrong decisions, incoherence, feuding between different departments and a staggering lack of understanding and wrong appreciation of the clerical leadership, the Bush Administration is taking the right direction about Iran”, the analyst pointed out, speaking on condition of anonymity.