Currently the Iranian regime is suffering from numerous crises, both domestically and the international scene. The question is which crisis is considered the main issue for the Iranian regime. Understanding the main crises the Iranian regime is engulfed in helps us understand the next steps the mullahs take.
One of the crises the Iranian regime is involved in is the nuclear dossier. Through its nuclear activities the Iranian regime intended to obtain nuclear weapons and forever stabilize its rule. However, as its nuclear activities were revealed, the Iranian regime was forced to sign a nuclear agreement with world powers and stop its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons for at least 10 years. On the nuclear issue very serious dilemmas and issues are seen in the path of implementing the terms of the nuclear agreement. However, these issues have not reached the point for us to say this is the main subject on the regime’s table. The reason is that on the nuclear dossier the issue has been surpassed. The Iranian regime has given in to the nuclear agreement and it is now facing its consequences and not the entire matter in its entirety.
Another crisis the regime is facing is its dilemmas in the region and especially Syria. To be more precise, the fate of Bashar Assad that Iranian regime leader Ali Khamenei has strategically invested in. Following the terrorist attacks ISIS carried out in Paris and San Bernardino of California, the issue of Assad and Syria has once again become the main topic for the international community. The fate of Bashar Assad and the war against ISIS, both in the Middle East and in the international stage, is a major topic and the Iranian regime is seriously engulfed in this matter as it has major impacts and implications on its entire apparatus. Therefore, in my opinion the most important issue for the regime is Syria and the fate of Bashar Assad.
The reason why the Iranian regime asked Russia to enter the war in Syria and defend Bashar Assad is the defeats suffered by forces of the Iranian regime and Bashar Assad at the hands of Syrian opposition forces. If the opposition forces were allowed to continue their trend Bashar Assad would have fallen. Currently the Iranian regime has sent more than 5,000 of its experienced Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) forces to Syria. Additionally more than 7,000 of its Iraqi militias and a large number of mercenaries hired from Afghanistan and Pakistan have been sent to fight in Syria. In the past month alone over 100 IRGC members have been killed in Syria, many of whom were senior commanders of the force.
The issue of ISIS and Syria is a very hot topic for the international community and the region, and also Khamenei whose IRGC members are dying one after another in Syria. Of course, there is also the nuclear issue. Khamenei was seeking nuclear weapons to gain hegemony over the Middle East. He wanted to get armed with the mother of all bombs in order to implement his own hegemony in regional politics, and further pursue his ideology of expanding the mullahs’ rule. The wars in Iraq and Syria, and the nuclear dossier, are all in service for this very cause. Without such a policy abroad the Iranian regime cannot continue its crackdown inside Iran. Nuclear bombs and the regional strategy of this regime are intertwined.
A defeat regarding the fate of Bashar Assad, the dead-end in Iran’s sectarian policies in Iraq and being unable to maintain former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in power, are all similar to the same defeats suffered in the nuclear dossier. If the Iranian regime was actually able to obtain nuclear weapons and become a nuclear threat, it could continue its bribing and policies of meddling in the region. Therefore, it is not two subjects, and the main and most important matter is none other than Syria and the defeats the regime is suffering in the region. Also, Khamenei has accepted the nuclear setback and has surpassed this defeat, left with no other choice in this regard; this means he has no potential or ability to return to day one. As a result, it must accept the consequences of this defeat in the region.
Finally, these matters are intertwined in the main political issue in Iran today, being the overthrow of this regime. The defeats the regime has suffered in the nuclear dossier, Syria and Iraq, all from its opposition, further intensify the matter of reaching its last days.
From a strategic and political point of view all these matters are very much related and interlaced.