6-27-park

Roger Cohen to Kristof yesterday:

Certainly dictatorships can hold onto power through force against the will of the majority of the population, and that likely will be the case for some time yet in Iran. But some important shifts have occurred over the past two weeks that will, I think, weaken the regime. Millions of Iranians who were in a position of reluctant acquiescence, unhappy with the regime but believing they could reform and live with it, have moved into outright opposition. The highest office in the Islamic Republic, that of the supreme leader, has been weakened, because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has lost the lofty mantle of arbiter, explicitly joining the hardline faction of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The brazen extent of the fraud was such that significant swathes of the religious and political establishment have dissented. Not since the first years after the revolution have there been such open splits in the hierarchy.

And in his column today on Iranian women:

Women are angry with the state, of course. But they are also angry with the passive way men have accepted discrimination. Be strong! Fight harder! These are immediate messages summoned from old frustrations. Their courage and pain haunt me. We need Delacroix to paint them.

On the West's second look at its alleged enemy:

One benefit of the massive show of resistance to a stolen vote, and future, has been to awaken Americans to the civic vitality of Iranian society a real country with real people rather than a bunch of zealous clerics posing a nuclear problem. This is a sea change. Iran has been denuclearized, not in the sense that the problem has gone away (on the contrary), but in the sense that a rounded picture, beyond to bomb or not to bomb, has formed.

(Photo: Iranian families enjoy their weekend as they picnic at a park in Tehran on June 26, 2009. Getty Images.)

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