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There is a very important phenomenon evolving in the Iran saga which could be the internal trigger that is needed to spark a new revolution. The clerical hierarchy that rules Iran appears to be splitting at the seams with Ayatollahs taking differing sides. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most important and senior ayatollah living in Iran, has issued a statement rejecting the election results. In his statement, Montazeri warned the nation that they should not provide any excuse to those who intend to create an atmosphere of fear and repression in the country. Montazeri's full statement can be found here.
In another development, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani's daughter and other family members were arrested by the government and later released because of their support of Mousavi. Former President Rafsanjani is a powerful cleric within Iran and has not publicly taken sides in the election unlike his daughter. The fact that there are ruptures within the clerical regime itself are a sign of permanent fissures within Iranian society. The wholesale murder of Iranian citizens will have a "Tienanmen Square" type of scar on the Persian populace that cannot be repaired by the current leadership.
Mr. Mousavi appears to be serious in his demand for an annulment of the election results and his followers are giving their collective lives for the same demands. There is good reason to believe that the election was rigged by examining a recent poll of Iranians and their answers. According to a pre-election Iranian poll, 77% of the respondents said that they want the Supreme Leader to be elected directly by the people. Another 74% favor full inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities to ensure that it will not be used for non-peaceful purposes and 77% favor normal trade with, and full recognition by the United States. In a surprising result of that same poll, 52% favor recognition of Israel in return for U.S. recognition. These kind of results do not favor the mindset of the current leadership.
Whatever happens in Iran, I think it can be said that President Obama earned a failing grade for his weak response to the situation. Mr. Obama did not want to appear to be "meddling" in Iran's internal affairs and I think he may have missed an important opportunity. Encouraging the rights of those that are being repressed is what world leaders do and playing it safe is not leadership. I do hope that there is a regime change in Iran, but they may not change the situation on the ground in the grand scheme of things. Mousavi may still be a threat to Israel and the stability of the Middle East, but they cannot be any worse than they are now. One thing that I do know, it will never be the same in Iran again.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
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