• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

  • Advertisements

Can Iran be Won?

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on October 1, 2012


About a month back I published a post presenting an argument for the outcomes of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In it I applied Machiavelli’s thoughts to these countries. Let’s see if we can predict the outcome of an attack on Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, erstwhile Persia, is for all practical purposes, ruled by the Supreme Leader and a Guardian Council that consists of twelve members nominated by the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The official religion is Shia branch of Islam and 90-95% of the population belong to this religion.

After the Supreme Leader, the Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority.The President is elected for a term of four years. Presidential candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution.

So why do I think Iranian authority cannot be overturned?

Firstly, Iran is one of the few Arab countries where the ruling authority belongs to the same religion as the majority of people. Iranians hold the Supreme Leader in very high regards, almost divine. His authority is absolute and justified by God. The members of the Guardian Council do not hold sway over any territory or any clan of people. So, the Supreme Leader’s authority is unquestionable and does not depend heavily on his ministers. To defeat such a system is difficult.

Secondly, people of Iran are religiously connected with the Supreme Leader. An attempt to overthrow the Iranian authority will be perceived as an attempt to overthrow the Supreme Leader. This is completely unacceptable to a big majority. The religious string that is used by the Supreme Leader to rule Iran is stronger than the heavy handedness Saddam used to rule Iraq. An attack on Iran will be perceived as an attack on Shia Islam. The Iranians will not revolt against the Supreme Leader. I repeat, the Arab Spring type revolt will not happen.

And lastly, the provision to have a democratically elected President is a “clever” ploy in the Constitution. All ills of the society including a poor economy can be blamed on the President. This ensures that people never raise their fingers towards the Supreme Leader and his Guardian Council. A lot of the Iranian anger is diverted towards the President and abated by giving Iranians and illusory hope that they possess a democratic right to change the President in the next elections.

Hence, I do not think that Iranian authority can be overturned by force.

Comments welcomed.





6 Responses to “Can Iran be Won?”

  1. doze said

    I think the real question would be: Can an Israeli bombing of Iran be prevented? It is straightforward that other political considerations are at stake here. Should the attack take place, I think that the destiny of Iran and its people can’t be predicted so easily.

  2. Good Deed said

    I think that going to Iran is one way ticket. You will never be strong again after that. You can’t fight against whole world, no matter how much guns you have. Whole world is outraged by you, so be smart.

  3. Great article, Raunak! I appreciate your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: