As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Uprising Is Working

I'm seeing a connection between this...

A group of Iranian clerics has issued an anonymous letter calling Iran’s supreme leader a dictator and demanding his removal, the latest and perhaps strongest rhetorical attack on him yet in the country’s post-election turmoil [...]

Last week a group of former lawmakers issued their own letter calling his qualifications into question. A day earlier, a member of the state body empowered to dismiss Ayatollah Khamenei called for an “emergency meeting” to address criticisms.

And this:

Iranian state television first reported that Iran's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna said that Iran is ready to talk with Western powers about its nuclear program without preconditions and based on mutual respect, before reporting that the ambassador said he was quoting from an Iranian letter to the United Nations, wire reports said Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, news wires monitoring Iranian state television reported: "(Ambassador Ali Asghar) Soltanieh announced Iran's readiness to take part in any negotiations with the West based on mutual respect." [...]

Iran experts have described Soltanieh as a technocrat being directed in his statements by political leadership in Tehran.

"He is a technocrat not considered to be part of any particular faction," Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council told Foreign Policy Tuesday. "Nor is he known to freelance foreign policy, on the contrary. So this statement represents what [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and indirectly [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei want to do."

Iran's political leadership is under internal attack. The protests and riots have sapped at their legitimacy. They know the reformers are tired of their belligerent tactics on the world stage. So to preserve their power, they seek dialogue on the nuclear question with the West.

This probably won't appease the reformers - Mir Hossein Mousavi has created a new grassroots movement and will certainly continue to press at the street level - but the new flexibility on the nuclear issue shows that the ruling class isn't secure in their position.

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