Terry Gross on NPR asked Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment how the Bush Administration would have handled the current Iranian crisis. Sadjadpour’s answer: this crisis couldn’t have happened under the Bush Administration. As long as Iran was under the threat of military attack, even those disposed to be hostile to Ahmadi-nejad didn’t want to say or do anything that would weaken national unity. The easing of that threat reduced the pressure to rally ’round the flag, and thus enabled fissure within the ruling group that made the current revolt possible.
Moreover, Sadjadpour said, the continued hostility of A-n in the face of Obama’s make-nice approach made it clear to Iranians that the problem was in Tehran, not in Washington.
Sadjadpour also says that the supporters of the Khamene’i/Ahmadi-nejad regime constitute a small minority, not only of the nation, but even of the ruling elite. He doubts that the regime could count even on the Revolutionary Guard if the order were given to fire into crowds.