At the end of the past week, the general elections in Iran took place, as it does every four years. The expected turnout rate was a reason for concern. Many researchers of Iranian politics were not hopeful as to the impact the Iranians will have on the elected future president. Especially in light of the fact that most of the candidates in this election were ‘disciplined soldiers’ of the supreme leader Ali Khamenei while others were not affiliated with political sections which oppose him.
Nevertheless, the prolonged economic crisis contributes in creating doubts amongst the politicians as to the future political path of Iran. Some of the candidates spoke of advancing a more liberal discourse inside the country, as well as a more moderate approach towards the West. Nonetheless, such approach is still very unsatisfactory in higher echelons of the Ayatollah regime.
It appears the path of sanctions is still the preferable approach amongst worldwide decision makers. Not so long ago, the local Iranian currency, Rial, reached its lowest value ever and set safely at the bottom of the rate of exchange list for different currencies.
Albeit Netanyahu’s dramatic speech at the UN General Assembly and an ongoing campaign led by his government, Iran with its ill intentioned nuclear program keeps its massive progress while the world looks the other way.
According to Prof. Dan Kurtzer, a specialist for US policy in the Middle East, it appears the US will not intervene militarily in Iran, unless there are proofs of major domestic problem inside Iran with implications on its neighbors and the whole region.Moreover, Kurtzer claims the diplomatic solution was not applied to its full extent. Apparently, according to Kurtzer, the US still has to find the mutual interests it shares with Iran in order to reach an understanding.
At this point, Israel and the US disagree. It appears the Netanyahu government perceives the Iranian nuclear ability as an immediate threat to Israel’s security. Such a state of affairs leaves no time for prolonged diplomatic solutions. It is true though, the Israeli public does not live constantly under fear. There is no such scenario in which the country, on its powerful army, will not be able to hold against an Iranian attack. Still, the vibrant, somewhat colorful image of Iran’s retiring president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who used every opportunity to threaten Israel, will definitely be missed by those who follow the developments in this part of the world.
Ahmadinejad was definitely serving the Israeli interest by promoting eagerly the Iranian nuke. It was much easier for Israel to gain the sympathy of the world in light of his public antisemite and anti-Israel expressions. Ahmadinejad was also a great supporter of Holocaust deniers. Though he would deny his hatred for Jews while excusing his antagonism towards Israel as an opposition to Zionism, it is very clear where the truth lies. One example for antisemitic reference which is deeply rooted in the Iranian culture can be found easily on YouTube; a video by the name “Shabbat Hunter“. The video in Farsi with English subtitles depicts a Jew who teaches his kid how to kill others as if it was a day by day practice done by Jewish people. Although Ahmadinejad is leaving the stage without as much glory as one might expect of such a ‘popular’ leader in the media, his antisemitic tradition will not be forgotten as quickly as he will be. It is expected that his successor will be more practical than an outspoken and verbal type of a man. The main reason for that is to let the centrifuges progress without any unwelcomed attention by the world.
Except for Hugo Chaves, the lately deceased dictator of Venezuela, Ahmadinejad did not really have any allies in the international arena. However, his active aid and involvement with Hezbollah as a proxy within the Syrian civil war and as an eminent ailment on Israel’s northern border cannot be overlooked, as it is a constant and more immediate threat to Israeli citizens.
As of now, it appears there are developments in regards to international involvement with the different conflicts in the region. Russia is involved in Syria for quite a while, thus “dragging” the US for an intervention as well. Hopefully, such an intervention will weaken Hezbollah. An outcome of this kind will be of great value to Israel’s security. A present of the West, one might say. Those ongoing events exemplify how time passes while nothing really changes. It appears the Cold War has ended long ago, yet the two great superpowers of the past are still bitter rivals, even if only ‘behind the curtains’.