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Sanctions against Iran will only bolster its regime

Sanctions against Iran are a bad idea. The West should let democracy takes its course.

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On her recent visit to the Persian Gulf, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated an obvious fact that is finally becoming clear to outsiders: Iran is moving toward military dictatorship.

However, her proposed solution of imposing hard sanctions aimed at weakening Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and their Revolutionary Guard allies will have the opposite effect: It will strengthen them. In the name of promoting democracy, the US government will in fact be throwing a life jacket to the sinking Iranian regime.

Sanctions will be counterproductive because the threat of international crisis is the Iranian regime’s only remaining resource for legitimizing its despotic power.

The previous bulwarks of support for power in Tehran – large land ownership and the urban bazaar, the monarchy, and the clergy – have already been dismantled through a succession of revolutionary movements over the years. The shah was forced to abolish large land ownership in the 1960s. The 1979 revolution removed the monarchy. The dictatorship that followed the 1981 coup that ousted my government was supported only by the clergy.

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