Too Early to Call
"We believe this is an existentially important moment for Iran - perhaps the most important one since the Revolution. The odds are always with whoever has control of the army and airwaves. People can be forgiven for already assuming that the hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating today in Tehran will fail in contesting the election results. Perhaps they will. But then again, perhaps they won't. Mir-Hossein Mousavi has a lot of people on his side and we don't just mean the throngs in the street. He was accompanied today in his appearance in Tehran in front of his supporters with former President Mohamed Khatami and the other rival presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi. Even the right wing candidate (to the right of Ahmadinejad), Mohsen Razaee (a former leader of the Revolutionary Guard), has contested the election results. And these aren't necessarily soft touches.... Each was involved in the revolution that brought down the US supported monarchy and still remembers how that went.
"Of course, this is not a fight to overthrow the Republic - for many of the demonstrators, this is a fight to save the Republic, such as it were. It is an indicator of a strong level of support in Iran for the system of a constitutional republic, if not with the limitations that have been placed on it. It shows a remarkable politicization of the Iranian middle class that must be causing shudders throughout parts of the Arab world, just as the overthrow of the Shah did almost exactly thirty years ago. If for no other reason, this attempt to demand accountability by those convinced they were denied their vote is supremely admirable. It also shows that while there has been significant trust by masses of Iranians in the system itself (if in fact it is true that over 80% of eligible voters turned in their ballots), it also shows a significant lack of trust in those institutions which head the system."
(Crossposted to American Footprints, as is almost everything right now)