Scott Lucas previews the protests in Iran:

[T]here is a significant difference on the eve of this event compared to the political environment before Ashura (27 December). On that occasion, the only prominent opposition figure who made a move was former President Mohammad Khatami, and his memorial speech for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri was rudely broken up by pro-Government protesters.

Mousavi, Karroubi, and other senior clerics were all muted about the demonstrations to come. And, after those protests, “conservative” figures such as Ali Larijani were unstinting in their criticism of the “violent” and “foreign-backed” Green movement.

Now all these figures are in play. Mousavi, Karroubi, Khatami have put down their political markers for a big opposition show on Thursday and promised more to come. Rafsanjani, for the first time since early December, may have made his manoeuvre to challenge the Government. And Larijani, joined by others within the establishment, is now targeting Ahmadinejad as much as any Green protester.

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