BY ALEXANDER MELEAGROU-HITCHENS
Democracy Digest reports today that Washington has now given up hope of any meaningful engagement with the Iranian thugocracy, and may instead pursue a programme to support the opposition.
According to the report, which is based on an expert meeting in Washington which took place yesterday and today, there is now little to no hope in the White House of winning over the regime. Two former advocates of engagement, Ray Takeyh and Karim Sadjadpour, both stated at the symposium that the true nature of the regime became clear after the recent post 'election' violence.
Interestingly, Sadjadpour, who works for Carnegie, warned against comparing the current atmosphere in Iran with that which preceded the 1979 revolution:
Comparing the current state of affairs with the 1979 Revolution is instructive, Sadjadpour suggested. Khamenei is aware that the Shah's admission of past mistakes was seen as a sign of weakness, emboldening the opposition and accelerating his regime's collapse. Similarly, Khomeinei was prepared to sacrifice lives in pursuit of power.
But "Mousavi is not Khomeinei, and Khamenei is not the Shah," he said. While the Pahlavi dynasty's leading supporters, educated in Europe or the US, had the option of exile, the current elite spent its formative years in the theological schools of Qom or were hardened on the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war and "they are not going anywhere."
Focus on Islamism is a blog dedicated to analysing and exposing the modern ideological phenomenon known as Islamism.
Shiraz Maher is a writer and broadcaster.
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens is a PhD student at King's College, London. He has contributed to various online and printed publications including, The Daily Telegraph, Lebanon's Daily Star, Standpoint and NOWLebanon.
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