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The Crushing of False Hope in Iran

By Perry Rod, Published: June 12th, 2009 10:12 PM CDT

It is a moment of truth for Iran, and truth can oftentimes be painful for the young at heart.

The question will quickly transform from “who won?” to “what will Mr. Mousavi do?”  The so-called reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi is now in a position to do what no other man has done in Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979.  He is now in a position to directly challenge the government with a significant portion of the population ready to hang on his every word.

But immediately, Mr. Mousavi protested to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei about the election results, as if to stab any true reform minded follower in the heart, as if to remind all Iranians and everyone else lest there be any doubt that he is just another part – a pawn – of this particular religious government.

Indeed, how can there be hope for democratic change within a theocracy?  The fact is that Iranians went to vote in mosques.  They went to vote for religious candidates who were hand-picked by their religious authority.

Yet, persistent Iranian idealism prevails, as it did when Iranians elected twice Mohammad Khatami as a powerless “reform” president.

There is some hope, however.  Young Iranians are forced to learn the hard fact that there is no “winning” an election that is controlled by a religious dictatorship.  The only meaningful reform would involve an overthrow of government.

Meanwhile, the United States and Israeli governments are following closely and will come to realize the obvious - that there will be no more hope for change in Iran without force from the outside.  And perhaps the rest of the civilized world, whose governments are mostly separated with their religious segments, will come to realize that there is no hope and, in fact, no place in the civilized world for religious governments.  There is certainly no place in the civilized world for a theocracy with access to nuclear weapons.

And so it will come to pass.  Crushing false hopes may be the exact recipe for creating a pathway for change in Iran.  True reform may have to involve violence.  It will be time to get real.  Just as the United States and Israel refused to respect the election of Hamas and their apparent democracy in the Gaza Strip, they will refuse to respect the sovereignty of a theocracy trying to “improve” its nuclear technology.

Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has said several times that the Iranian threat is more important to him than the world’s economic crisis.  They will, in effect, force America into a precarious situation.  President Barack Obama clearly does not want to attack Iran, but will surely not be able to stop Israel.  An attack may cause an unpredictable response from Teheran, who has threatened to use the Persian Gulf as a weapon to disrupt oil transportation.  That means a Barack Obama diplomatic balancing act is about to be put to the test.  Will this president, who has little previous foreign policy experience, be able to help liberate Iranians from a religious dictatorship, or at least liberate the world from the threat of religious fanatics having access to nuclear technology?  Will he be able to do it without spiking the price of crude oil (OILUSOUSL)  and in effect, crippling the world economy?  Will he be able to take a neutral approach and stay out of the inevitable fight between right wing governments in the Middle East?

Not likely on the latter.  All eyes are on Iran as crushed false hopes lead to difficult questions for America’s new president.  Just as Iran and oil defined the presidency of Jimmy Carter, Iran and oil may end up defining Mr. Obama’s presidency.  The striking similarities are all the more reason why President Obama will likely be advised to do the opposite of President Carter and take an aggressive approach in dealing with the fanatic Iranian government.

Related: OIL, USO, USL

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