Quick items for keeping up with the ongoing legitimacy crisis within Iran:
1. Excellent IPS review by Farideh Farhi of the fault lines in Iran, as revealed in Rafsanjani’s Friday Prayers speech and blistering reactions.
It is now clear that the Islamic Republic’s ever-present political frictions and cleavages can no longer be managed in ways they have been in the past, either through behind-the-scenes lobbying at the top or selective repression or some combination of the two….
Adding to the drama was the immediate appearance on Rafsanjani’s personal website of a headline in which he recalled the early years of the revolution. “The term fear has no meaning for us,” it said. “For every generation, there is a test. Issues related to society and people are the most important tests.”
Note especially Farhi’s emphasis on the eclectic and yet unified nature of the opposition movement. Echoes of 1979.
2. Further quotes and analysis by Muhammad Sahimi of critiques from Leader Khamenei and reformist rebuttals.
For the Leader, it seems “the real people… those with real intellect…. think about and follow God….” the riotous corrupt by contrast are castigated as slaves to the foreign body. For Musavi,
“Many of the prisoners are well-known and have served the political system and the country for years. Who is going to believe that they colluded with foreigners to sell out the country’s national interests? Is this not an insult against the nation?”
3. Call by ex President Khatami for a “referendum” as the only way to resolve the crisis:
“I would like to add a point here and declare explicitly that, the only way out of the present crisis is relying on people’s vote and holding a referendum.”
4. Ayatollah watch: Sahimi’s run-down this morning of hotly contradictory clerical statements regarding the recent elections. Contrary to an absurd commentary put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy earlier this month, Iran’s clerical centers have neither been silent nor unified.
5. For the puzzled, I highly recommend a lively hour with my mentor, Professor R. K. Ramazani, available via podcast here. Many of the questions are basic — yet profound.