Once upon a time, before the shoot ‘em up cowboy administration of George W. Bush, there was a semblance of power balance in the Middle East, with the secular Sunni Saddam Hussein ruling Iraq and the fundamentalist Shiite ayatollahs ruling Iran. With the fall of the iron-fisted government of Saddam, Iraq’s long-suppressed Shiite majority gained precedence, while Iran quickly became the unrivaled and dominant power in that part of the world.
Historically, tension between the US and Iran escalated sharply in April 1979 due to the Islamic Revolution and its overthrow of the Shah. In November of that year, further intensifying the existing animosity and distrust, Iran took 52 Americans hostages for 444 days.
By early 1981, after the resolution of that harrowing episode, the strain between the two nations shifted to a low simmer, which continued until Bush’s conquest of Saddam. With the removal of Iraq as a regional power, however, attention was again focused on Iran as a major threat to US security. Iran’s emerging nuclear weapons program has been the central focus of this conflict, with ever-tightening economic sanctions used as a cudgel to coerce compliance with Western demands to dismantle the nuclear program.
On November 23, 2013, the first crack appeared in this ongoing, bitter struggle between Iran and the US. A tiny ray of hope emerged that will need to be nurtured and supported in order to survive amidst the controversy it has generated. Iran and 6 major powers, largely led by the US, agreed to a freeze of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lessening of some sanctions for a period of six months. During this time, further negotiations are planned towards the goal of a more comprehensive nuclear pact.
The new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, was elected on June 15 and began his term on August 3, 2013. He had campaigned on a promise of improving relations with the West and restoring the sanctions-damaged economy. The presidency of the pro-reform Rouhani may be seen as marking a change in the trajectory of recent Iranian policy. Astrologically, Rouhani’s ascendancy is a manifestation of the Uranus/Pluto square aspecting the Iranian Sun (11Aries06) during 2013 and 2014. Long-building conflicts within the leadership of Iran and between the leadership and the world (Pluto square the Sun) were sparked into a sharp transformation by more progressive interests (Uranus) in the person of Rouhani and the event of the new accords.
Currently, Pluto is once again square to the Iranian Sun, waxing from November 27 through December 29. This suggests a sense of danger and anxiety and a severe power struggle over policy and control. It may be that the threat of conservatives in the US House to sabotage this agreement, as well as resistance and distrust from Israel, a close US ally, will be a part of this equation.
Of perhaps greater interest is the coming Jupiter station very near a square with the Iranian Sun from February 1 through March 26, joined by Uranus conjunct the Iranian Sun for its final crossing, from February 16 through March 9. This protracted Jupiter/Uranus square directly impacts the Iranian Sun for much of February and March 2014, and points to a period of great optimism, increased patriotism, renewed hope and a potential for progressive transformation, most likely as a result of the new accord.
There are other planetary aspects, however, that may point to some difficulties as change (Uranus) attempts to take hold. The progressed Iranian Moon will be conjunct progressed Saturn (7Virgo05) from December 7 through mid-January, followed by the progressed Moon conjunct natal Saturn (8Virgo18) from mid-January to mid-February 2014. It is not impossible to imagine the ongoing partisan struggles in the US, signified by Pluto quincunx President Obama’s Sun (12Leo33) and opposite the US Sun (13Cancer19), endangering this accord. Furthermore, transiting Pluto will return to square the Iranian Sun from July through October 2014, potentially signaling renewed conflict within the government and heightened distrust of other nations, including the US.
Nonetheless, it seems clear that Iran will be very much in the news from February through March, with events moving at a fast pace and the potential for great transformation very much in the air. The saga of the coming two-month long Jupiter /Uranus square and the swift winds of change it portends will most definitely be casting Iran as one of the main characters.