An Obama effect in Iran?

Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment says that Obama’s conciliatory approach removed the pressure Iranian political actors felt to sustain national unity in the face of foreign attack.

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.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: