“Realism and Iran”- A Response to Stephen M. Walt
First and foremost, it is highly unlikely that the Islamic Republic would concede to western demands with respect to its highly contentious nuclear program. All in all, it really does not matter who is president of Iran, considering the fact that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (the Supreme Leader) holds the final say in all state matters, whether it involves economic policy or its role in the Middle East.
One only needs to look back at the recent article by Ranj Alaaldin in this very same magazine. It is almost universal to conclude that Tehran’s conservative establishment would kill any attempts by President Mousavi to open up Iranian society to westernization. In addition, the likelihood that Mousavi would be willing to practice what he preaches remains skeptical. Who is too say that Mr. Mousavi’s campaign for change against the incumbent Ahmadinejad was not just a ploy to win the presidential election? He is a politicain after all. This question is a very reasonable one to ask, especially when the history of Iran’s “reformist” candidate is intimately involved with political persecution. Lets keep in mind that this is the very same man who oversaw the execution of thousands of political prisoners throughout the 1980’s.
-Daniel R. DePetris