A Win For Repression In Iran
The Iranian protests are, it's fair to say, at a low ebb. The media has largely moved on, and the lack of bearing witness has emboldened the ruling regime to crack down further against demonstrations. There's even a report that some Mousavi supporters were hanged in the city of Mashhad. Worst, leading cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, thought to be controlling the protests behind the scenes, is now deferring to the Supreme Leader:
Rafsanjani referred to the recent incidents after the results of the presidential elections, saying: "The incidents were the results of complicated plots by obscure sources with the aim of creating separation and differences between the people and the system. And with the aim of making the people distrust the Islamic system."
He said Ayatollah Khamene'i's expedience in extending the deadline by the Guardian Council for a better study of the issues and providing convincing explanations and clearing any doubts was a very valuable measure. He added: "In my opinion, the recent order by the leadership was one of the very valuable decisions he made. That is he asked the Guardian Council to extend the legal time, which was over, to study the complaints. And a group was appointed to help the Guardian Council with this regard."
Rafsanjani said: "We should all make a step with cooperation and solidarity to remove the obstacles and solve the problems." He also said: "We should always end the election results with solidarity. If every election would result in discord - we have an election once a year - and there would be hatred and fighting, then there will be nothing left."
Rafsanjani, a billionaire and a member of the establishment, has gamed this out, presumably, and realized that the reformers could not currently win. So he's backing off. Mir Hossein Mousavi is not, and he's probably in line for jail time shortly. The regime is too repressive and too in control to really radically break through right now. It took the 1979 revolution a year or more of planning, so this entire situation is in the early stages. But the ruling regime has clearly won the first battle.