It doesn’t sound like it, does it? The Iranian government is currently cracking down on protestors, using the old code words of “revolution” and “enemies of the people” even while they fight against revolution and are themselves the enemies of the people.
But it really is. One of Iran’s greatest claims was that it was the Iranian Revolutionary government that represented the future of the Middle East, not the dictatorships backed by the west. Well now, with Egypt changing, Iran is finding themselves sitting in that place. It’s not the west that’s shooting their people– it is their own government. It’s not the West that had resulted in the current regime being discredited in the eyes of a vast number of their people– it is their own actions in both stealing elections and being unable to manage the national economy. (Protip for any budding dictators out there– making certain everyone has a job will do far more than a new division of troops to keep things calm).
So what does that mean for the US? Well first of all, it means the US has to be very, very careful about what we say or do. The Iranian government will try and tie the protesters to the United States, and by extension the Shah. The US should not play that game. The Government of Iran made their own bed, and we shouldn’t crawl in their with them.
Equally, we need to understand that when (not if, even if it takes a while) this government falls, the replacement will not be our boys. The Iranian people are overwhelmingly in favor of continuing the nuclear programs currently in place, don’t trust or like Israel, the Saudi’s or the Iraqi government and see themselves as the natural choice to be a strong leader in the Gulf. Those desires may conflict with our own foreign policy goals. Regardless, in the long run, should the Iranian government fall and a more democratic government take its place, that can only be to the benefit of the United States of America.