Let's imagine that somehow, miraculously, anti-government activists in Iran actually manage to throw out the regime and move towards real democracy; would a new non-theocratic government be substantially less likely to pursue nuclear weapons or threaten its neighbors?
You can’t ride a wave that’s about to drown you. Yet that’s exactly what the Mullah regime that’s occupying Iran is trying to achieve. While they praise the domino effect of autocracies falling in the Arab world, they try to maintain their stranglehold on the Iranian people. To that end they spin the popular uprisings against Arab rulers as an Islamic revolution. They aren't.
Meanwhile tensions grow as the Iranian youth sees that it is indeed possible to topple a despotic government. As the Iranian protests against the Islamic Republic increase the oppression.
The regime’s schizophrenic approach to the protests abroad and domestic means that the Islamic Republic believes it can fool the world, just as it did in its endless seheenanigans around the A-Bomb.
If they indeed believe that the fresh surge of Iranian resistance against their Islamic regime is not connected to the Arab revolutions, abandon all hope, those believing in a peaceful solution for Iran.
In 2009, Iranians revolted against a dictatorship that had stolen an election... and were brutally repressed. The Egyptian revolution may have a better shot at getting rid of the regime. But its consequences for the rest of the region may be overstated. Ben Cohen explains in his essay, Don't Forget Iran:
Firstly, that revolutions which incubate the impulses of liberal democracy alongside social and religious conservatism are easily subverted. Secondly, that successor regimes can be just as brutal as their predecessors; and as Zimbabwe under Mugabe shows, this phenomenon is not confined to the Middle East alone. Thirdly, that like their predecessors, successor regimes with no democratic legitimacy are similarly driven by the desire to remain in power at any cost.
Which brings me not to Cairo in 2011, but Tehran in 2009. After stealing an election he was widely predicted to lose, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced the wrath of the Iranian people. Using the social media tools that have defined the current wave of Arab protests, as well as a courageous