Democratic uprising against current Iranian regime unlikely
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More generally, while Iranians have shown considerable interest in increased political openness and improved economic opportunities, there is little evidence that Iranian society is presently in a “pre-revolutionary” state. Even though pro-democracy activists and organizations opposed to the regime called for Iranians to boycott the most recent presidential elections in June 2005—a call endorsed by President Bush—60 percent of the eligible electorate went to the polls, reversing a trend of declining participation displayed in presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections since the late 1990s. (And, a 60 percent participation rate is roughly comparable to the participation rate in the 2004 presidential election in the United States.) Moreover, Iranian society is highly stratified and there is no single charismatic and politically effective opposition figure who could rally diverse economic and social groups around a simple anti-authoritarian message. Additionally, the chaos and violence in neighboring Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s overthrow have dampened whatever enthusiasm there might otherwise be in Iran for radical political change. In this context, U.S. and other Western efforts to support pro-democracy and human rights groups opposed to the current regime are, by definition, tainted by historically conditioned Iranian suspicions of foreign intervention.
Beyond the sheer challenge of trying to attempt regime change in Iran on a military and logistic level, there is the very real possibility that whatever regime taks the place of the one the U.S. topples will continue the nuclear weapons program for the very same reasons the current one is.