Next in Line
Very few people truly know of the internal politics at play in Iran. The diplomatically isolated country only makes it to the international media on account of its nuclear program or when it enters into yet another brawl with the United States. As mentioned in your story, the very fact that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei is stepping down and will leave a power vacuum that can either be filled by someone heavily influenced by him or by someone truly independent, thus threatening Khamanei’s stronghold over Iranian politics, is certainly a game changer. It seems most likely that Khamanei’s successor will denote a continuation of the former’s policies which means Iran will see little change, both domestically and internationally. This cannot bode well for a “Republic” that is increasingly isolated, both diplomatically and economically. The fact that the country will undergo internal re-shuffling gives the international community, a small window of opportunity to interact with the people of Iran and start afresh, a new policy of engagement. But the international community must be armed with good intentions and heavily refrain from influencing or interfering in internal politics, lest it be seen as a neo-colonial power. Such a move will only cement the current Iranian government’s anti-Western arguments in the eyes of the public. Only communication and diplomatic ties will allow for bilateral relations, which will in turn promote negotiations on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. There is no better time to engage with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Omeed Askari Los Angeles, USA