Op-Ed: What could come next for Iran after the Islamic Republic?
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting to promote the Persian New Year at the Culture Center in Tehran on February 1, 2012 (photo by ISNA via AP).
“There is no such thing as a free lunch” and “anybody can be a victim if there is enough power” were the words of former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (not his exact words) as he was giving his final public speech on September 19, 1979. A few days earlier, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had spoken of the need for “revenge,” “retaliation,” and “confrontation.” It was obvious from those words, and others over the years since, that Iran’s rulers and people had been through the most difficult and painful days that the Islamic Republic ever faced. This was a nation that had been at war for decades with neighboring states, and in which the country’s borders had been drawn by the sword, not words. Iran was the first country in the world to nationalize its oil industry and nationalize parts of its economy.
After the fall of the Shah, many thought that Iran’s leaders would follow the tradition of the great and compassionate rulers of Iran-Babylonian and pre-Islamic Persian times, who had done their best to bring an end to the pain and suffering and had tried to “make all things new.” But the pain in Iran was too great for the rulers of that country to overcome.
In July 1953, for example, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had expressed his deep regret at the manner in which he had been killed by an American bomb during the war with Syria. He did not mention that he had been responsible for taking that country to war. Nor did he mention that the American government had decided to target his position rather than any of the Islamic leaders of Iran. Neither did he mention the many times