There can be no more urgent interest than the regime's own survival, which is threatened by internal pressure for democratization. The anti-American and anti-Israeli stances bind the hardliners to their small but loyal and heavily armed constituency, and they furnish a pretext for domestic repression, as members of the opposition are jailed and tarred with accusations of participating in American or Zionist plots to overthrow the government. To give up this trump card--the non-relationship with the United States, the easy evocation of an external bogeyman--would be costly for the Iranian leadership. It would be a Gorbachevian signal that the revolution is entering a dramatically new phase--one Iran's leaders cannot be certain of surviving in power.
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