Clerics openly defy Khamenei; join protests

The fissures in the Iranian theocray are starting to split wide open.

Octavia Nasr of CNN
is reporting that protests yesterday in Tehran prominently featured many participants in clerical robes and turbans - an unmistakable sign that the lock step obedience all religious in Iran owe to the Supreme Leader is starting to crumble:

In a blatant act of defiance, a group of Mullahs took to the streets of Tehran, to protest election results that returned incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Whether these clerics voted for Ahmadinejad or one of the opposition candidates is unknown. What is important here, is the decision to march against the will of Iran's supreme leader who called the results final and declared demonstrations illegal.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mullahs rule supreme. They are the country's conservative clerics; the guardians of the Islamic revolution and its ideologies. They're loyal only to God and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

I'm with Reuel Marc Gerecht who writes in The Weekly Standard:

The Iranian presidential election of June 12 may soon rank with these history-making events. We may well look back on it as the "June 12 revolution" even if--especially if--the regime cracks down on the supporters of Mir-Hussein Mousavi, the candidate who ran second to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the dubious official vote tally. Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), which almost destroyed the Islamic Republic and forged the reputation and character of then-Prime Minister Mousavi, most Iranians have been exhausted revolutionaries. More like sheep than foot-soldiers of a dynamic faith, Iranians have largely veered away from confronting their increasingly unpopular rulers. Now the election appears to have stiffened their backbones and quickened their passions. They've had enough of their unpleasant, joyless lives. The election has given a wide variety of Iranians--many of whom would not voluntarily associate with each other because of religious, political, and social differences--a simple and transcendent rallying cry: One man, one vote! Even the supreme leader's favorite, President Ahmadinejad, must obey the rules. It is in some ways a bizarre situation when hundreds of thousands of Iranians rally to protest the outcome of an election that was rigged from the beginning: All candidates must pass a revolutionary litmus test, and the vast majority of contenders, even from well-respected, nonthreatening families, cannot. Yet it is in part precisely because this election was so strait-jacketed that it has become pivotal.

 

The "Islamic Republic of Iran" is no more. Gerecht argues convincingly that the clerical-fascist system set up by Ayatollah Khomenei 30 years ago is gone. Now the argument is over what is going to take its place. Will it be the somewhat conventional military dictatorship of President Ahmadinejad who, along with the Revolutionary Guards and Basij paramilitaries, will rule Iran with an iron fist? Or will something more like a fledgling democracy as they have in next door Iraq take shape?

At this point, it can go either way.





The fissures in the Iranian theocray are starting to split wide open.

Octavia Nasr of CNN
is reporting that protests yesterday in Tehran prominently featured many participants in clerical robes and turbans - an unmistakable sign that the lock step obedience all religious in Iran owe to the Supreme Leader is starting to crumble:

In a blatant act of defiance, a group of Mullahs took to the streets of Tehran, to protest election results that returned incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Whether these clerics voted for Ahmadinejad or one of the opposition candidates is unknown. What is important here, is the decision to march against the will of Iran's supreme leader who called the results final and declared demonstrations illegal.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mullahs rule supreme. They are the country's conservative clerics; the guardians of the Islamic revolution and its ideologies. They're loyal only to God and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

I'm with Reuel Marc Gerecht who writes in The Weekly Standard:

The Iranian presidential election of June 12 may soon rank with these history-making events. We may well look back on it as the "June 12 revolution" even if--especially if--the regime cracks down on the supporters of Mir-Hussein Mousavi, the candidate who ran second to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the dubious official vote tally. Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), which almost destroyed the Islamic Republic and forged the reputation and character of then-Prime Minister Mousavi, most Iranians have been exhausted revolutionaries. More like sheep than foot-soldiers of a dynamic faith, Iranians have largely veered away from confronting their increasingly unpopular rulers.

Now the election appears to have stiffened their backbones and quickened their passions. They've had enough of their unpleasant, joyless lives. The election has given a wide variety of Iranians--many of whom would not voluntarily associate with each other because of religious, political, and social differences--a simple and transcendent rallying cry: One man, one vote! Even the supreme leader's favorite, President Ahmadinejad, must obey the rules. It is in some ways a bizarre situation when hundreds of thousands of Iranians rally to protest the outcome of an election that was rigged from the beginning: All candidates must pass a revolutionary litmus test, and the vast majority of contenders, even from well-respected, nonthreatening families, cannot. Yet it is in part precisely because this election was so strait-jacketed that it has become pivotal.

 

The "Islamic Republic of Iran" is no more. Gerecht argues convincingly that the clerical-fascist system set up by Ayatollah Khomenei 30 years ago is gone. Now the argument is over what is going to take its place. Will it be the somewhat conventional military dictatorship of President Ahmadinejad who, along with the Revolutionary Guards and Basij paramilitaries, will rule Iran with an iron fist? Or will something more like a fledgling democracy as they have in next door Iraq take shape?

At this point, it can go either way.