@elilake: "Shorter Khamenei: Ajad won, u are all going to take it, if u don't my goons will murder u."

To go back to that rubric for a moment... if the Director of National Intelligence tasked the Persia Desk with making a prediction about the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech this morning, I bet the analyst would have predicted roughly the speech that Khamenei gave, given an analysis of his personal history, the political context and Khamenei's perception of Iran's status in the world and in the Muslim world. Belligerent, defensive, isolationist; bellicose rhetoric about the West; carefully laying blame on conspiratorial forces rather than individual politicians; stern warnings about protests. Did Khamenei really have any other choice? If President Obama have come down forcefully on the side of the protestors and students, would Khamenei's rhetoric be different today? To this, some will say: well, if Khamenei would say the same thing, then why shouldn't Obama have said more? To which one might well respond: the millions of protesters know whether the U.S. is meddling or not. If they're not and Khamenei says they are, he's not credible -- even less credible. If they are, and Khamenei says they are, then he's correct. And anger might well turn toward the United States.

So -- if you were an Iran analyst for the CIA, what happens now?

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