Daniel W. Drezner

Is it 1953 all over again?

This bit from the Los Angeles Times’ account of today’s Tehran protests is veeeeeeeeerrrrrry interesting.  At times the two camps appeared to be shouting directly at each other, exposing the still-festering election rift within Iranian society and the political establishment underneath both at the Friday prayer enclosure on the university campus and on the streets ...

This bit from the Los Angeles Times' account of today's Tehran protests is veeeeeeeeerrrrrry interesting. 

At times the two camps appeared to be shouting directly at each other, exposing the still-festering election rift within Iranian society and the political establishment underneath both at the Friday prayer enclosure on the university campus and on the streets outside.

As Mousavi supporters chanted "Death to the dictator," against Ahmadinejad, his supporters chanted "Death to opponents" of Khamenei.

This bit from the Los Angeles Times’ account of today’s Tehran protests is veeeeeeeeerrrrrry interesting. 

At times the two camps appeared to be shouting directly at each other, exposing the still-festering election rift within Iranian society and the political establishment underneath both at the Friday prayer enclosure on the university campus and on the streets outside.

As Mousavi supporters chanted "Death to the dictator," against Ahmadinejad, his supporters chanted "Death to opponents" of Khamenei.

As hard-liners repeated their signature cries of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," riled-up Mousavi supporters overpowered them with chants of "Death to Russia" and "Death to China," the Islamic Republic’s powerful United Nations Security Council protectors.

This little exchange underscores the fact that the United States is not the only great power with a stake in the outcome of what happens in Iran

That said, one wonders if Russia and China will respond by doubling down on the current regime — i.e., aiding and abetting Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guards in order to ensure a friendly Iran. 

If this happens, 2009 could be a bizarro-world replay of 1953, when the United States backed a coup in Tehran order to ensure a U.S.-friendly regime.  That move gave the United States 25 years of a friendly Iranian government,  immediately followed by thirty years of a hostile Iranian government. 

Readers, does this analogy hold up? 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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