Cracks In Iran?

We may begin to see more pieces in the left-wing media about reformist potential in Iran. Here's one in the Guardian today. They're trying to allay fears about Ahmadinejad. But they may also be onto something. Few doubt that Persians as a whole are often pro-Western and chafing at the constraints the mullahs place on ordinary life. The attempt to organize a democratic alternative to Ahmadinejad next year may not be hopeless if some elements in the elite support it. This seems encouraging:

In an unusual intervention, Grand Ayatollah Yusef Sa'anei, one of Iran's most respected Islamic scholars, has attacked Mr Ahmadinejad's government for failing to tackle social ills such as youth unemployment, drug addiction, and gender inequality.

In a rare interview with a western newspaper at his office in the holy city of Qom, Mr Sa'anei said: "The government should be at the service of the people. But it is putting too much pressure on the people. It bans newspapers, sends people to jail, segregates boys and the girls at the universities, makes noise about hijab."

Know hope.