A New Twist in Iran

Political unrest in Iran is now going overboard. The difference of opinion, which was primarily restricted to the controversial verdict of June 12 presidential election, is now targeting the fundamentals of the Islamic Revolution.

Incidents of agitators tearing the pictures of Father of the Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini are regrettable and in bad taste. Though the opposition, widely known as the Green Movement, has distanced itself from the activity, it goes on to reflect the waywardness that has set in among a section of political activists. This is a crisis of governance. The surging vacuum, which is political in essence, needs a holistic approach. And it can only be overcome when the government and the opposition sit down to chalk-out a nationalistic agenda, which addresses the needs and requirements of an evolutionary society.

The deplorable incident, condemned across the board, however is being maneuvered to attain vested objectives. The government, which to this day had refrained from telecasting the opposition’s protest, surprisingly aired scenes of burning Khomeini’s pictures. Moreover, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has gone at length to point a finger at several of the opposition leaders, blaming them for discrediting the republic’s founding father. The opposition, on the other hand, has taken refuge behind the argument that it is a stage-managed act, intended to drive sympathy for a reclusive and unpopular government. Whatever be the context of the sacrilegious act, or whoever be behind it, it is leading to further polarising the society. This renewed government-opposition row risks legitimising radical opponents of the system and strengthens the orthodox establishment, which had obstructed meaningful reforms to this day.

Iran cannot withstand such a crisis for long. The impasse should end now. Tehran, which is already on the verge of new sanctions owing to its defiance on the nuclear issue, will find the evolving political disgust quite disturbing. It possesses the tendency to explode and endanger the country’s sovereignty and security.

Prolonged political rift will inevitably weaken the government’s writ and resolve on the international front, and make it vulnerable to compromises. This ball game of political exigency, coupled with unending unrest, is treading a suicidal path. The country has weathered international pressure and sanctions for the last three decades only by virtue of its unity and steadfastness. This crisis is eroding its vitals.

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