Iranian opposition member believes regime change is possible

2010/02/17

Published in German weekly newspaper “Die Zeit” on 17 February 2010
Source (German) http://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2010-02/iran-sorusch-revolutionsgarden

The Iranian dissident Abdelkarim Soroush considers the Revolutionary Guards the major threat to his country. Yet he believes that a change of power might soon take place.

Iran's opposition is protesting against restrictions of freedom of opinion and the presidential elections which they believe have been rigged (© AFP/Getty Images)


The Iranian oppositionist Abdelkarim Soroush believes that a change of power might soon take place in his country. “I am not a prophet. But I think something big might happen within one or two years”, said Soroush, a prominent religious philosopher and mastermind of the reformist movement in Iran, in an interview with the ZEIT. “Not a revolution, but a change of power. Everyone except the government admits that the country is living through a deep crisis.”

In Soroush’s opinion, the main problem of the country is not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “It is not Ahmadinejad who poses a threat. He is just a puppet of the Revolutionary Guards. This is why in our manifesto we are calling for the dissolution of their economic enterprises.”

Iran’s opposition movement under the leadership of former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi accuses the regime of rigging the presidential elections of last summer. On occasion of the anniversary of Iran’s revolution on January [sic] 11, the movement had called for rallies to protest against the regime. The turnout, however, was by far lower than expected.

The Revolutionary Guards were formed after the Revolution of 1979 to safeguard the Islamic Republic. Today, they are regarded as the pillar of the Islamic System, and as a major recourse for the controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The troop of 125,000 men operates a network of companies, banks and other facilities, and is said to be the key player in Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Apart from that, the elite force of Iran’s armed forces plays a leading role in the crackdown on the protests of opposition supporters against Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election.

At an international level, Iran is suspected to carry out secret research aimed at the construction of an atomic bomb. Shortly before the pending decision about new UN sanctions against Iran, the US government had harshened their tone in addressing the leadership in Tehran. During her visit to the emirate of Qatar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that the Islamic Republic is drifting toward a military dictatorship, with the Revolutionary Guards as the major players who are in the process of gradually seizing the Iranian system.

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