June 13, 2021

“In Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel, the lines are moving. In the right direction ? “

Lhe status quo is a mirage in the Middle East – as elsewhere. Between the Arab-Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean, the lines are moving these days. The two enemy regional powers, those who maintain tensions, militias and mini-wars, Iran and Saudi Arabia, talk to each other (a little). In Tehran, the regime is changing. In Riyadh, the crown prince, Mohammed Ben Salman, consolidates his power. Benyamin Netanyahu could retire. Arabs should be part of the next majority in Israel. All in all, things are moving. In the right direction ?

Let’s start with the ectoplasmic Islamic Republic, in power for forty years in Tehran and which is preparing to elect a new president. Until then, the regime preserved a small window of free debate. There was a minimum of ideological competition between the candidates seeking the votes of the Iranians. Within the “system”, we clashed. In this country, one of the richest in the region in hydrocarbons, the elections gave the pulse of a society of 85 million inhabitants whose median age is 30 years.

A militarized theocracy

It’s finish. The most serious “reformers” were excluded from the presidential election on June 18. Only the applicants who claim to be part of the regime’s “hard” tendency remain. This, already in the majority in the Majlis (Parliament), is embodied by two forces: the Guide of the Iranian theocracy and true head of state, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 82 years old; he is the ally of the Revolutionary Guards, a vast military, industrial and financial complex exercising its domination over the country more and more every day.

The presidency should go, say the Iranologists, to Ebrahim Raïssi, 60, an associate of the Guide. In the fall, he will succeed President Hassan Rohani, a hasty reformer, at the end of a second and final term. If this prognosis is true, it will be the end of a form of multi-headed power that was the originality of the Islamic Republic. The “hard” will control all the levers of power: the Majlis, the presidency, the judiciary – all subject to the Guide and the guardians of the revolution.

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They will reign supreme over Iran, without a counterweight. Were it not for the pretense of a government under orders, these uniformed guards will be the central backbone of a regime that will then take on the strange face of a militarized theocracy – a novelty in the typology of political regimes.

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