So the talk is back to Iran. Bush and his junta are meeting in DC amidst mutterings of ‘regime change’ and sadly they still haven’t realised it begins at home. Nor, it would seem, do they have any understanding whatsoever of the situation in Iran.
While sitting in my uncle and aunt’s apartment in Tehran I remember getting quite a chuckle from reports that Bush had been saying he supported “the voices on the streets of Iran”. You couldn’t help but laugh. The previous story had been of the massive anti-Bush rally in the city earlier that day. Certainly the news media can manipulate such images and it’s difficult to believe that they didn’t realise the power of putting those two stories in such close proximity. But the point was neatly made. Bush is oblivious to the voices on the streets.
The Iranian government is a complicated creature. There is much frustration amongst the people that the pro-reform parliament is being frustrated by the regular use of veto on the part of the self-appointed Council of Guardians, which has effectively blocked the reforms the parliament was elected to make. Recent reports suggest that the relatively relaxed approach to dress codes which we experienced last year is being replaced by harder lines this summer.
Conservative crackdowns are not unusual in Iran, but they are often the response to a mixture of internal and external influences. In this case, it’s not difficult to come away with the impression that the conservative hand is strengthened by the attitude of certain external aggressors who fail to acknowledge that the Iranian regime is not a monolith.
Foreign regimes wanting to influence what happens in Iran would do well to learn the arts of subtlety and analysis.