Khamene'i Orders Investigation
"Iran's supreme leader on Monday ordered a probe of Friday's presidential election, as protests over alleged voter fraud continued for a third straight day. But since Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already congratulated President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his apparent reelection, some observers dismissed the investigation as an attempt to diffuse the anti-government demonstrations...
"On Sunday, Mousavi met with Khamenei, a Shiite cleric who holds ultimate political authority in Iran. Ali Reza Adeli, a top aide to Mousavi, said Khamenei told Mousavi to use legal avenues to question the election outcome. The two leaders then jointly appealed for calm, Adeli said.
"Khamenei later asked the Guardian Council to examine the election and the allegations of wrongdoing, and issue a report within seven to 10 days. The council is a 12-member commission that must validate the election before an official winner can be declared. Council members are appointed by Khamenei and the head of the judiciary. The council vets candidates and has the power to veto laws deemed inconsistent with Islam."
This is first and foremost an attempt to defuse the protests. Khamene'i has already left no doubt as to his preferences, and is probably hoping to just come back and say, "OK, Ahmadinejad only got 55%." However, at this point I don't see anything that has the incumbent over 50% flying with protestors, who may see this as a sign that their efforts are paying off.
On the other hand, this plus an even harsher crackdown could persuade some to stay off the streets for awhile, allowing the hard-liners to assert themselves.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)