The WikiLeaks documents could cause Iranian factions to create a united front, says Stanford's Abbas Milani

Abbas Milani, the director of Iranian Studies at Stanford and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution, is an expert on the Iranian government.

 At the request of Stanford Report, he offered some insight into what effect the WikiLeaks revelations might have in Tehran. The classified cables from U.S. embassies laid bare Arab anger at the Iranian government, including suggestions for military action.


There were noises about a possible impeachment in the last few weeks, with the WikiLeaks revelations following quickly afterward.  How might the WikiLeaks matter affect Iran's internal politics?  

Every time there is a foreign threat, factions within the regime tend to put aside their tensions and create a united front. These revelations, the reality of enmity from powerful Arab neighbors, and finally the assassination attempts on two of the country's top nuclear physicists, are likely to dampen the enthusiasm for impeaching Ahmadinejad. At the same time, the Iranian economy is in serious trouble, and sacrificing Ahmadinejad might well be a necessary price for regime survival.

Obviously, the information about Iran's position vis-a-vis other nations in the Middle East is pretty damning. How do you think these revelations will affect Iran's standing in the international community as we go forward – and also its standing with its neighbors?

Beneath the solemnities of diplomacy, the Islamic Republic's relations with most of its neighbors have always been tense and fraught with friction, and thus the leaked documents simply confirm, or re-emphasize, what has long been a known fact: Iran's Arab neighbors are worried about the Islamic Republic, particularly its nuclear program and its advocacy of Shiite radicalism.


Do the WikiLeaks documents endanger any individual or any group within Iran?  

In the documents I have so far seen, there are no names of individuals living in Iran. If such names are revealed, then the lives of those individuals will be in serious jeopardy.