How Secure is the Regime?
Andrew Sullivan passes along a message from Mir Hussein Mousavi to one of his BBC Persian contacts:
"I AM UNDER EXTREME PRESSURE TO ACCEPT THE RESULTS OF THE SHAM ELECTION. THEY HAVE CUT ME OFF FROM ANY COMMUNICATION WITH PEOPLE AND AM UNDER SURVEILLANCE. I ASK THE PEOPLE TO STAY IN THE STREETS BUT AVOID VIOLENCE."
It is much harder to crush your enemies than it is to get them to admit they are beaten; in fact, the former is usually but an end to the latter. The regime wants Mousavi to buy in to their system because they lack confidence that they can otherwise control a popular uprising that many within Iran are now comparing to the revolutionary events of 30 years ago. They expel journalists because they don't want the images of their attempt beamed around the world.
There is also a silence amidst the din. It is the silence of well-known Iranian leaders such as Rafsanjani and Qalibaf who, if they wished, could signal their acceptance of the new order and have it trumpeted in the official Iranian media. Does the fact that it is not so trumpeted not mean that they see other possibilities, or at least a chance worth fighting for? What does it mean that word of Rafsanjani's alleged resignations is carried only on Arab satellite media, but not on Press TV or IRNA?
This election featured a rift in the establishment caused by a scheming Supreme Leader and an arrogant showman of a president who alienated both an old guard of kleptocrats and a population which has never been loathe to vote reformists into office. The kleptocrats in question helped keep the political space open for the Mousavi campaign, only to be thwarted by enemies who would brook no dissent. However, against the expectations of many, including me, it is the voices of the people, however, who with their voices and bodies demand the democracy the regime keeps insisting they have, who keep that space open, and Mousavi himself, a man who bridges several worlds, who appears to be the first in a generation with both the power and the will to lead them.
The Iranian system of government we have known for 30 years is no more. What will take its place, however, is not yet decided.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)