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Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, hopeful Western observers have seized on Q1. signs of revolt as foreshadowing a possible collapse of the regime. Last week, again, it seemed Q2. possible that Iran might become the latest country to re-enact the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine, or the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. Angry drivers set fire to at least at dozen gas stations after the government announced gasoline rationing.

The rationing has been accompanied by a crackdown, including the arrest of some American-Iranian scholars and opposition figures, and the reappearance of harsh morality police in the streets. Surely, logic would dictate that Iranians won't stand for such Q3. indefinitely. Many are well-educated, young and westernized, facing a Q4. future in an economy run by religious zealots.

Regime change isn't likely any time soon. The government's reaction, after all, is also a measure of its ability to crush protest through Q5. But, as the U.S. and its allies struggle to counter Iran's nuclear ambitions, the moment is a reminder of two important considerations.

        1.First, if military options for eliminating Iran's nuclear program are Q6. , options for affecting its economy are not. That OPEC's second leading oil exporter had to ration gasoline speaks Q7. of its vulnerability.

2. Second, if Iran's discontented factions aren't pushed into the regime's arms by outside threats, there's a reasonable chance that given the means, they eventually will dispose of the ayatollahs. If so, Iranian nuclear weapons would look less Q8. Thirty years ago, Iran was a U.S. ally, and absent religious leadership, it would have many reasons to be one again.

With bombing looking Q9. how best to push those levers is increasingly a source of debate.

The obvious tool is rigid international trade sanctions, but Russia and China, whose cooperation is essential, have steadily resisted U.S. and European efforts to impose them.

That failure has given birth to efforts to stir the Iranian opposition, as well as other proposals for an aggressive response short of bombing. Former senator Fred Thompson, the undeclared Republican presidential contender, got some attention recently by urging a blockade.

But blockades or Q10. , funding opposition groups can backfire. Like families, no nation likes to be threatened from the outside, no matter how unpleasant its leaders, and every measure shows Iranians reflecting those sentiments.

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