Each revolution softens in the length of time, and gravitates towards a more pragmatic point. Revolutions devour their own children and, after internal settlements, customs of the pre-revolutionary era are implemented as if they were brand new.In any kind of revolution, cadres don’t remain as they were before; more realists and more pragmatists of these cadres stand out in time. In a sense revolutions also normalize and lose their rigidity. The French Revolution, the 1917 Russian Revolution and other different kinds of ideological and national revolutions can be counted as examples.
Despite all of the fixings, the Iranian Revolution is one of the never-normalized-revolutions. Shortly after the revolution, Iran found itself at war with Iraq. The U.S. and the Soviet Union adopted a position against Iran, and powerful foreign enemies forced Iran to feel besieged. Post-revolutionary policies of Iran have always been survival policies, and Iran has continuously renewed itself under the conditions of revolution, war and defense. Revolutionary ideology transformed into the ideology of war without encountering any challenges of ordinary life; and later the ideology manifested a defense ideology against the hard reactions of the U.S. and more generally the West. During the time the attacks of Israel against Lebanon and Palestine have also been one of the factors to keep the revolution fresh. The Cold War ended, however, the U.S. settled in the Persian Gulf with Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait, and threats of the U.S. against Iran increased. When the U.S. was settling in the Middle East it utilized the threat of Saddam Hussein and on the other hand, by frightening Arabs with the Iran threat, it obtained new bases and rights in the region. During the 1990s Iran was represented as a ‘new threat’ to the world and the dynamics for change did not awaken in Iran because of the hardness of foreign threat. Since it was too busy to respond to foreign threats, even in the period of Hatami, Iran didn’t make an insightful critic.
In the period of George W. Bush, Iran’s two neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, were occupied by the Americans. Moreover, Iran was named among the countries of the “axis of evil” by the U.S. President, and it was reiterated that Iran was the second target after Iraq. Western Media lack no news of a likely attack against Iran by Israel and/or the U.S. Under these conditions, it was inconceivable for the Iranian elites and people to make a settlement with the Tehran regime by putting aside potential foreign threat. In other words, while the U.S. was demanding self-transformation from Iran, it was obstructing the change itself at the same time. The U.S was aware of the fact that the Iranian people and many regimes were lacking in terms of economic, societal and political rights. Even Ahmadinejad excoriated the Iranian regime during the last election campaigns. He said the corruption reached its climax by the most important presidents in post-revolutionary Iranian history and the first prime minister of the regime. Ahmadinejad also said that income inequality peaked in these years. Thus, except for the Khomeini period, according to Ahmadinejad, the economic, societal and political results of the revolutionwere a fiasco in every sense of the word. Of course he doesn’t say this explicitly but his critics indicate these facts. Other candidates also accuse Ahmadinejad of corruption and of incapability on the economy; they also confess that the Iranian economy is an economy of failure and dissipation. In short, change thought in Iran matured, and henceforth Iran will not be the same as before. Either Iran will take a bloody path or, by inventing new suspension, a controlled change will be adopted. And all of them would have happened with a change of president in the U.S…
Barack Obama came to power after Bush and changed the direction of U.S. policy towards Iran to the exact opposite of the Bush administration’s, despite harsh critisism from inside. Besides his hopes for dialogue with Iran he even confessed the role of the U.S. in the low down business in Iran’s past. Although Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have continued their sharp discourse, Obama has continued to offer an olive branch to Iran. Obama’s messages in Ankara, Istanbul and Cairo also had an effect on Iran. Thus, it was clearly understood by Iranians that Obama does not want another Iraq and he will not attack Iran at least in short term. The intensive pressure on Iran relaxed and it became more difficult for Ahmadinejad’s government to portray the U.S. as a ‘boogeyman’ inside Iran. In Tehran, there was almost a spring atmosphere on the eve of the elections…. Reflexes against foreign countries relaxed; when the proportion of critics decreased the need for change came up in ordinary conversations. Even the men who may be said to be part of the deep state began to criticize the regime harshly. Many Iranians were aware that Mousavi would gain a serious number of votes. Even some officials said, “It seems that Mousavi will win the elections, if he doesn’t there will be a serious problem”. And it happened, and Iran collapsed. The biggest demonstrations since the revolution were made in Iran. But here the interesting thing is that Mousavi was also together with the demonstrators on the streets. In the past, these kinds of leaders were ‘persuaded’ to stay in their homes. Moreover leaders like Mousavi would not carry their opposition positions further. Obama made many things easier. Obama is trying to not interfere in Iran’s domestic issues; he distances himself from making tense statements. In response to persistent questions he says, “These are Iran’s domestic issues”. In other word, by avoiding intervention he has had the best effect.
When the U.S. relaxes its policies, the Iranian regime falls backwards. It will be seen that while the West continues to soften its policies Iran will get into trouble. A delayed domestic conflict is taking place in Iran. The normalization processs that should have happened in the first five years of the revolution is occuring after 30 years.
Translated by Serpil Acikalin and edited by Kaitlin MacKenzie