by Chris Bodenner
Abbas Milani surveys the landscape of the Iranian president's second term:
There are already signs that the Islamic Republic is losing much of its influence in the Muslim world. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah lost the recent election in Lebanon, and there are hints that Hamas might be inching towards an alliance with the Palestinian Authority. Some radical Sunni groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who had earlier been flirting with Iran, are now voicing criticism of Iran's flawed election. Perhaps most significantly, the regime's Shiite allies in Iraq--from Muqtada al-Sadr to Ayatollah Sayed Mohamad Baqir Al-Hakim [to Ayatollah Ali Sistani]--are also distancing themselves from their Persian patrons.
Ahmadinejad, buoyed by support from Khamenei and the IRGC, will still have a relatively strong hand heading into his second term. But the continued defiance of the Iranian people and an increasing number of the Islamic elite, dire economic realities, and a rising chorus of criticism from democracies all around the world make it highly unlikely that Ahmadinejad will be able to ignore reality for very long.
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