There's an Animal Farm irony to Mousavi's stance: he warns that the original (presumably pure, shining) Islamic Revolution is at risk of giving way to "a new way of political hegemony which is being forced upon us" (June 14). He is now spokesman for the rule of law in the name of an Islamic Republic that from an American perspective never respected it, but that is now sweeping away its inadequate but to some extent functioning channels of response to the popular will. It's as if one of Lenin's original cadre were resisting a less murderous Stalin in the name of the revolution's original ideals.
A second irony is that while Mousavi insists "it's not about me," the resistance may yet be shaped by his strategy -- peaceful pressure to convince the mullahs to step back from the brink, then reform their Islamist regime in order to save it. Events could overwhelm his leadership from two directions -- brutal crackdown or a revolution that sweeps away the Islamic Republic. But so far he's something of a dam holding both sides back.
Here's an interesting take about the deep divide within the elite:
In a nutshell, Ahmadinejad has made his power play against Mousavi and Rafsanjani. The Supreme Leader fully supported him. Mousavi and Rafsanjani, plus Khatami, need an urgent counterpunch. And their only possible play is to go after Khamenei.That piece by Bill Keller this morning about Ahmadinejad's triumph? How embarrassing was that?
As Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council, among others, has noted, Rafsanjani is now counting his votes at the Council of Experts (86 clerics, no women) - of which he is the chairman - to see if they are able to depose Khamenei. He is in the holy city of Qom for this explicit purpose. To pull it off, the council would imperatively have to be supported by at least some factions within the IRGC. The Ahmadinejad faction will go ballistic. A Supreme Leader implosion is bound to imply the implosion of the whole Khomeini-built edifice.
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