Hillary Clinton’s recent statement that the United States would extend a “defensive umbrella” over the Middle East if Iran acquired nuclear weapons reflects the world’s increasing acceptance that, sooner or later, the Islamic Republic will acquire such capability. While some advocate a military solution and others propose diplomacy, an obvious truth is overlooked: A democratic Iran that respects the rights of its own citizens is less likely to be a regional threat than an authoritarian regime sustained by terror and intimidation.
While violent repression of dissent can ensure a regime’s survival in the short-term, legitimacy is vital for the long-term survival of most authoritarian governments. This explains why, in the aftermath of the brutal repression of pro-democracy protests following last month’s controverted Iranian election, hardliners loyal to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are doing their utmost to conceal the extent of atrocities committed by security forces.
Read the article at National Post