The National has a reporter in Tehran:
The possibility of a major confrontation with or without the participation of the police, who have so far behaved with relative restraint cannot be discounted. Although Ahmadinejad’s support base is smaller than Mousavi’s, his followers are more fanatical and better armed.
On June 14, seven Mousavi supporters were killed during a confrontation with basijis who were firing from their barracks in south Tehran, and the speaker of parliament, no supporter of Mousavi, has demanded an inquiry into brutal raids that were staged on a dormitory at Tehran University and a residential block of flats. It is hard to say whether levels of violence are rising or not, since most of it goes unreported, particularly when it happens in provincial towns, but the confidence of Mousavi’s supporters seems not to have been dented by the arrest of several leading reformists. Rather, it has been bolstered by the success of their monster rallies and the obvious reluctance of the authorities to use overwhelming and lethal force against them.
For those watching around the world, with fascination and horror, the drama is in the streets, but the resolution, if there is one, lies in the corridors of power. In the past, Khamenei has trodden a fine line between the demands of a young population and the need, as he sees it, to defend the core values of the Islamic Republic. Now, as never before, the two are in direct confrontation.
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