More reasons not to expect “regime change” in Iran

Apropos my earlier arguments against those who think the Islamic Republic is teetering on the brink of collapse, comes the following report from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. Their analysis of numerous surveys suggests that Ahmadinejad really did win the election, even though there were probably irregularities and his ...

Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Walt-Steve-foreign-policy-columnist20
Stephen M. Walt
By , a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University.
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Apropos my earlier arguments against those who think the Islamic Republic is teetering on the brink of collapse, comes the following report from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. Their analysis of numerous surveys suggests that Ahmadinejad really did win the election, even though there were probably irregularities and his reported margin may have been inflated. Money quote:

[N]one of the polls found indications of support for regime change. Large majorities, including majorities of Mousavi supporters, endorse the Islamist character of the regime such as having a body of Islamic scholars with the power to veto laws they see as contrary to sharia.”

This result hardly means that there isn't serious opposition within Iran; nor does it absolve the clerical regime from having dealt with the protesters in an harsh and brutal fashion. But it ought to give those who think the Iranian people are panting for U.S.-led "liberation" a moment of pause (though I doubt it will lead the hawks to revise their views).

Apropos my earlier arguments against those who think the Islamic Republic is teetering on the brink of collapse, comes the following report from the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. Their analysis of numerous surveys suggests that Ahmadinejad really did win the election, even though there were probably irregularities and his reported margin may have been inflated. Money quote:

[N]one of the polls found indications of support for regime change. Large majorities, including majorities of Mousavi supporters, endorse the Islamist character of the regime such as having a body of Islamic scholars with the power to veto laws they see as contrary to sharia.”

This result hardly means that there isn’t serious opposition within Iran; nor does it absolve the clerical regime from having dealt with the protesters in an harsh and brutal fashion. But it ought to give those who think the Iranian people are panting for U.S.-led "liberation" a moment of pause (though I doubt it will lead the hawks to revise their views).

The poll also found that supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi remain interested in rapprochement with the United States and “were ready to make a deal whereby Iran would preclude developing nuclear weapons through intrusive international inspections in exchange for the removal of sanctions. However, this was equally true of the majority of all Iranians.”

Notice also that they are not saying they are willing to give up enrichment, but they are willing to forego weaponization. That’s the only possible deal that I can imagine anytime soon, and wouldn’t it be nice if we tried it?

Stephen M. Walt is a columnist at Foreign Policy and the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. Twitter: @stephenwalt

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