Double or Nothing

As his reign drew to a close in the late 1970s, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had few allies. He had persecuted the Communists, thwarted the advocates of liberal democracy, antagonized conservative landholders, and provoked the religious conservatives. Having publically opposed or oppressed almost every group in Iran, the Shah sowed the seeds of his own destruction. When the Islamic revolution broke out, he had few but his remaining loyal soldiers to turn to.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seems unwittingly determined to follow the Shah’s path. Having arrayed the military, conservatives, Shiite clerics, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei against the reformist Green Movement in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election of 2009, he began his second term

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