Western powers, fresh from their intervention in Libya, are keen to assert themselves elsewhere.
A recent report from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency claims to show evidence that Iran is building a nuclear bomb.
There is little new in these allegations.
But they have been used as an excuse by the West to issue new threats and ratchet up tension.
The US and Britain have imposed sanctions and broken links with financial institutions in Iran. And foreign secretary William Hague ordered Iranian diplomats out of Britain after the British embassy in Tehran was stormed last week.
Once again the West wants to claim that it is intervening on the side of “freedom” and “democracy”.
The US may hold back from actual military intervention because it is so stretched by its continuing war in Afghanistan.
But threats like these from the West will only serve to cement the power of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repressive regime.
They allow him to portray himself as an anti-imperialist and to crack down on internal dissent.
The people of Iran should be left to shape their own future—just as they have in Egypt and Syria.
The mass demonstrations of recent years show that there is the real potential for change from below.