THE BLOG
02/17/2011 05:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

As Long as Ayatollah Khamenei Is in Power...

UAE -- The regime declined the proposal and hasn't issue the authorization for the gathering on February 14 in the fears that would lead to another big anti-government movement against the Islamic Republic, as what happened in 2009.

The billions of dollars that has been paid annually as aid to many Arab countries and the support and protection granted by the US are not small awards that they can close their eyes and turn their face back from in the wake of US demands and pressure. They have to tolerate with the demonstrators who are seeking democracy and freedom of speeches! In Iran, relations with the US has been on the rocks for many years. Iran is on the hardest economical sanctions imposed by the US and its allies, and the UN and the ruler doesn't have anything else to lose if they confront the demonstrators or use force against of them.

This Valentine's day, February 14, so many youths in Tehran and other big cities in Iran carried banners and posters calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's departure instead of roses and chocolates. The success of people in Tunisia and Egypt, who attained big political changes in their countries, encouraged Iranians to once again march on the street in protest against the regime two years after the country's disputed June 2009 presidential election.

The movement in Tunisia and especially the one in Egypt were like fresh blood feeding the green movement and anti-regime demonstrators. The revolutions in the Arab world and democracy movements around Middle Eastern countries gave lots of motivation to the Iranian people. Monday's demonstration, called for by opposition leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, was supposed to be a peaceful march to show the nation's solidarity and support for the Egyptian and Tunisians revolutions. But the difference between anti-government movements in some Arab countries and what is happening in Iran is not in the cause for their respective uprisings. The difference is in how and in what fashion the regime in Iran likes to present and threaten the country's internal movement for change.

There is no doubt that Iranians are unhappy about their rulers, the lack of freedom, bad economy, corruption and privileges granted to the supporters of the regime are the main concerns of the protesters. But the regime likes to label the demonstrators and opposition as paid foreign agents who may be considered enemy combatants and agitators. Combatant's enemy accusation can lead to death penalty or long prison sentences, as eventually happened to so many university students, politicians and ordinary people who attended the demonstrations, were involved or members of an opposing political party.

Cairo-Iran may not be the only country in the Middle East or in the Muslim world which doesn't exercise freedom of speech, but unlike many Arab nations, Iran does not receive billions in aid or have close ties with the US or America's Western allies, who pressure Arab nations to show flexibility when confronting protesters. Former president Mobarak was under pressure from many Western countries, especially the US, to not use force against protesters and respect their wishes for change and democracy.
Iran, on the other hand, resists all external pressure and imposes fear by not hesitating to banish demonstrators or execute drug trafficker and those charged with spying for foreign countries such as Israel. Even now, Iran's official news channels are reporting that the revolution in Egypt is actually an anti-Israeli and anti-American movement that aims to establish an Islamic state in Egypt.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is quite aware of the influence and impact of the revolution in Egypt on the Iranian people. But still, such a movement will have difficulty succeeding in Iran because the regime does not hesitate to harshly use force and beat demonstrators. The home-grown forces such as the Revolutionary Guard and Basij, whose primary purpose is to protect the regime and preserve its interests are available at anytime to serve the rulers and protect the system. They exist to guarantee the continuation of Ayatollah Khamenei's leadership and his legacy. What people expressed on February 14 in the streets of Tehran and other big cities was their hatred for the supreme leader, who they compared with Husni Mobarak and asked to step down from power and put an end to his totalitarian leadership. It is very hard to predict how Iranians will act against the system, but such a large-scale change won't come easily to Iran as long as Ayatollah Khamenei is in power.