Three decades ago, before his final flight to exile, the Shah of Iran had drawn a line: He would not fire on his people. He was a king, he said, and not a dictator. The army had not yet cracked; there were loyalists keen to make a stand against the revolutionary upheaval. But the man at the center of the storm had boarded a plane, with his immediate family, in search of a country that would have him.
It’s impossible to fathom such a principled retreat by today’s “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his vast apparatus of repression and terror. If anything, a year after the fraudulent election last June 12, the theocracy is entrenched and the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, the regime’s murderous paramilitaries, man a political order bereft of mercy and restraint. Iran was not fated to have its “velvet revolution.” The Green movement that challenged the ruling apparatus has not been able to carry the day.
(photo credit: Anthony Posey)