What Western imperialist claims the Iranian government is on the brink of collapse?  Actually, in this case the analysis comes from the former head of Iranian intelligence and a high-ranking aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khameni, Mohammed Reza Mahdi, who tells the Bangkok Post that Iran’s government will collapse soon under its own weight.  Mahdi calls current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “crazy,” and advises Iran to seek better relations with the US, Europe … and Israel:

A former high-ranking intelligence official in Iran has called for his country to form better relations with the United States and Israel and says the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on the verge of collapse.

In an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post Sunday, Mohammad Reza Madhi, a former officer in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence service, described Mr Ahmadinejad as ”crazy” and unfit to lead his country.

”He has already destroyed international relationships with many countries and made them enemies of Iran,” said Mr Madhi, who was forced to flee Iran in 2008 after being jailed for 73 years on what he described as ”trivial” charges. ”This has cost the Iranian people so much. His ideas are dangerous.”

In the interview itself, Mahdi says the government has already collapsed, for all practical purposes:

Q: Do you expect a collapse of the government any time soon?

A: The government has already collapsed. There’s going to be big changes very soon. Believe me, it will happen soon. I can promise you that I will meet you for the next interview in Teheran very soon. However, I am afraid that the transition won’t be peaceful. You see what has happened during the religious ceremony called Ashura a few days ago. They killed so many people, 11 to be exact, not eight as was reported by the western media.

We want to keep our country as the Islamic Republic of Iran, but religion and politics must be separated. We want to change the structure of the government. The good clerics should help the people and the government, while the bad ones should be ousted from government. If you look back at history, several hundreds years ago, the church controlled everything in Europe. We are experiencing the same situation. Some of the top Ayatollahs have a lot of power.

If the Iranian government identifies itself as a theocracy, then Mahdi is right; it has already collapsed.  The revolt during the summer, as well as the rigged presidential election that triggered it, turned Iran into a police state.  The real power now is wielded by the Revolutionary Guard, as Khamenei cannot survive without them.  And even the IRGC can’t hold the country if a widespread revolt took place, which may be why Khamenei’s warming up his private jet on the tarmac.

However, a police state can exist for a long time.  The Soviet Union became a police state very early in its history, and lasted for decades.  East Germany existed as almost nothing more than a pure police state for over 40 years, and only collapsed when its chief financial backer, the USSR, abandoned it.  Predicting the end of the Iranian mullahcracy is a bit of a fool’s game, somewhat akin to predicting the return of the Twelfth Mahdi or Armageddon — although that may be redundant, in Ahmadinejad’s crazy philosophy.

The key to toppling Iran is to give them no oxygen to maintain its life.  That is why the US should be stepping up the pressure on Iran instead of giving the mullahs legitimacy by attempting to pander to them.  We should never have taken the approach that we could deal with people who profess a desire for genocide, as Ahmadinejad did regarding Israel, but the revolt in the summer was a particular moment the US should have seized.  We’re late to the game again in Iran, and given that we cannot deflect the mullah’s desire for nuclear weapons for their jihad against the Jews, we’re missing an opportunity to address more than one key security issue in the region.