Currently we are haunted by a very disturbing trend where the Islamic Republic of Iran is compared to the Soviet-Union in the eighties and Hassan Rouhani is compared to Mikhail Gorbachev. This nastiness causes me to feel physical unease because one doesn’t need to be a communist nor do have any sympathies for Mikhail Gorbachev to understand that the comparison diminishes the horrors of the regime of the Islamic Republic. Hence why I write in this opinion piece why Rouhani is not an Iranian Gorbachev and why we should expect a “Perestroika” from the regime in Tehran.
First and foremost: Under the so-called Reformist Rouhani, who by the way doesn’t see himself as a “Reformist” but as so-called “Moderate”, are no reforms in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Instead peaceful protests are violently suppressed and human-rights-activist are still thrown in jail or leave the country of Iran out of fear for their lives and join the Iranian diaspora because they simply see no future for themselves under the current regime.
But the lack of human- and civil-rights is not the only thing that shows that Rouhani is the caricature of a Middle Eastern despot but not a true reformist. Obviously, there is also his lack of engagement for the victims of natural-disasters who stricken in Iran in the last couple of years. While Gorbachev learned from the disaster in Chernobyl and asked for help and international aid from Western countries, among the United States, after the earth-quake in Spitak 1988, this despite the ongoing Cold War. This aid was by the way given by President Reagan to the Soviet-Union. Meanwhile the government under Hassan Rouhani turned away the Israeli and American offers of help and now lets Iranian citizens literally sleep on the cold hard ground. This is now news for the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran: In 2017 pictures were published that showed how homeless people were sleeping in graves on a cemetery in the slums South of Tehran. Most of these homeless people were drug-addicts and children living on the streets. The people who are now forced to sleep Iran under the barren sky are on the other hand victims of natural disasters. While Gorbachev because he was simply not an inhumane villain swallowed his pride and asked for aid to help the people in Armenia as good as possible instead of attempting to cover up the calamity. The contemporary regime of Iran abandons its own citizens in the hours of peril.
But this is not everything yet. After the massacre in Tbilisi on the 9th April 1989 Gorbachev appointed an inquiry that was in Soviet-terms pretty independent and in the end even admitted that the Red Army attacked unarmed protestors and was responsible for the deaths of over 20 protestors, mostly women. This despite the fact that Gorbachev exactly knew that those facts would strengthen the position of the Georgian independence movement. Rouhani meanwhile even denies the obvious and attempts to pacify the inhabitants of Iran and the regime-apologists outside of Iran with telling a cock-and-bully story about a progress that never happened expect in the heads of gullible people. While facts tell another story for example about the unstoppable brain-drain from which Iran continues to suffer.
Also, as the London-based opposition-minded news-site “Iran International” reported on the 29th January the state-owned broadcast of Iran, IRIB, refused to air a speech of Rouhani. That means even if Rouhani wanted to be an Iranian version of Gorbachev, he couldn’t be one because he simply has no power of being one. Because in the Islamic Republic Iran all power is essentially concentrated in the hands of the supreme leader, Ali Khameini and the Revolutionary Guards and these folks don’t want under no circumstances cede their power. Hence why we all now are being witness of a bizarre good-cop/bad-cop-play that the regime perfected since the days of Khatami and now uses it in attempt to safe the so-called “Iran-Deal” that was doomed for failure from the get-go.
In my opinion tough sanctions are needed instead of this. Tough sanctions that could restrict the freedom of action of the regime and therefore prevent the mullah-regime for continuing to bully and terrorize its regional neighbours and from exporting terrorism. Because the regime does nothing else currently because it has nothing else to offer besides terrorism and some petro-chemical-products, pistachios and saffron. Also, one should keep in mind that the proxies of the regime like the Hezbollah are responsible for the largest mass-murder of Jewish civilians after the second world war, the AMIA-bombing.
Last but not least one insults by comparing Rouhani with Gorbachev actual reformists and implies that Iran as in its current state is about to collapse. Because the Soviet-Union did not only fail economically but also fell apart because of Russian chauvinism towards non-Slavic, non-Christian-orthodox minorities within the Union. To compare the Iran of today with the Soviet-Union under the Gorbachev means therefore that one believes that not only is regime about to fall but also the nation of Iran is on the edge of collapse and hence on the best or worst way of becoming a failed state. This is however not the case. While Iran has problems with Separatist movements of Kurds, Azeris and Balochis that are fueled by the Persian chauvinism. But unlike in the Soviet Union during the eighties the Separatist movements in contemporary Iran are badly organized and therefore no real threat to the territorial integrity of Iran. Altogether the comparisons between Gorbachev and Rouhani and the Soviet Union in the eighties so trivial that they are simply wrong.