Next in Line

Southasia - - Editor’s Mail -

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

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