James Forsyth

The waning authority of the Iranian regime

The waning authority of the Iranian regime
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Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA Middle East hand, has an interesting analysis of the huge news from Iran, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum have declared the election invalid and the Ahamdinejad government illegitimate. What will happen next is crucial but unpredictable. Gerecht speculates that:

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“If Khamenei tries to crush Qom in the way that Khomeini crushed Grand Ayatollah Shariatmadari in Tabriz in 1979/80, he'll probably push Qom into open rebellion. If he tries using the Guards Corps as a vehicle of oppression against the clerical establishment, he would surely risk his office. The unthinkable--being dethroned by the Assembly of [clerical] Experts, the institution that constitutionally has the authority to appoint and remove supreme leaders--would become immediately thinkable.”

If the regime attempts to crush this dissent, it risks blowback that could unseat it. If it accepts it, it admits how weak it is and encourages others to both join in the criticism and to take it further. The regime might have managed to regain control of the streets, but its authority is still slipping away.