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Iran: Bombast, Revolt and Bombs

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

In a recent propaganda rant, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed to deal "a telling blow against global arrogance" on Feb. 11, the day Tehran's malignant mullahs celebrate the 31st anniversary of their Ayatollah Khomeini-led Islamic revolution, which toppled Iran's Shah.

In the lingo of Iran's dictators, "global arrogance" describes the behavior of many enemies, including Western Europeans and the U.N. Security Council (when it employs sanctions to curb Iran's nuke quest). As for "a telling blow," given Ahmadinejad's penchant for exaggeration, a blow could mean another televised diatribe (bombast) or the terrifying revelation that mullahs possess a nuclear weapon.

We can, of course, ultimately count on Ahmadinejad or another mouthy despot to specify America as a source of truly world-girdling arrogance. Khomeini dubbed America "The Great Satan," and damning America remains essential Khomeinist liturgy. It definitely troubles Tehran's wicked turbans that 31 years after Khomeini's condemnation America still exists and even occasionally defies them. Last month, Ahmadinejad yet again prophesied an "end to American civilization" and the American "system."

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Events in Iran, however, strongly indicate Iran's repugnant regime is far more fragile than America.

"Green Movement" opponents of the dictatorship intend to stage mass demonstrations on Feb. 11 throughout Iran. The Green Movement anti-regime campaign sprang to life in the wake of Iran's disputed June 2009 elections.

The regime's Revolutionary Guard militia has threatened to stop the protestors, whom the mullahs call "foreign agents." The activists demand fair elections, a tyranny-shattering concept the clerics claim must be inspired by America.

In a column published in late June 2009, as the post-election demonstrations began to wane, I wrote that Iran had entered "Limbo, an uncertain yet perilous period of time separating anger-driven demonstrations from either bloody tyrannical repression or sustained popular struggle producing a liberalizing revolution."

Seven months later, the Green Movement is definitely a sustained popular struggle, though not quite a systemic revolt. The movement is no monolith, but a disparate collection of groups. It has reformists (who support extensive, rapid reform), incrementalists (who favor certain reforms) and radicals of all sorts (some promoting Western-style democracy). The factions, however, are all outraged by the endemic theft and corruption of the Khomeinist elites and dismayed by Iran's insistently stagnant economy. Concern over the growing political and economic clout of the Revolutionary Guard Corps also unites them.

A revived Iranian nationalism, one decoupled from the Ayatollah Khomeini, is another potential glue. Movement leaders have discussed changing the nation's name from the Khomeinists' Islamic Republic of Iran to simply the Iranian Republic. While a name change may appear superficial, when so many Iranians feel cheated, exploited and excluded by Khomeini's heirs, its implications are immense.

An appeal to a "new nationalism" may be behind opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi's statement this week that "the current political situation in Iran indicates the presence of the remaining roots of tyranny and dictatorship of the Shah." Moussavi declared, "I don't believe that the revolution achieved its goals."

Meanwhile, America and its allies continue to try to deny the mullahs a nuclear bomb and prevent a telling blow from striking vulnerable nations. The U.S. announced the deployment of eight advanced Patriot anti-missile missile batteries to Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. U.S. Navy Aegis ships with Standard-3 anti-ballistic missiles are also in the Persian Gulf.

These new deployments, and suggestions by U.S. officials that Iranian nuclear facilities can be targeted, mark what diplomats call "a change in tone." Anti-Americans will call these deployments arrogant -- I call them sensible and long overdue.

Let's hope this "change" signals the end of the Obama administration's hapless spate of stupid Middle Eastern diplomacy, which included his "no pre-conditions" promise to the mullahs regarding negotiations and his June 2009 groveling apology from America. Obama delivered that tyrant and terrorist-inflating hooey a week before the Iranian elections. If Obama really wants to end the mullahs' bomb quest, he should support Iran's opposition. That means supporting regime change -- in Tehran.

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