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Analysis – Iranian uprising: Beginning of the end (part II)

June 15, 2009- anti-government protest in IranIran will never return to the past

Which path will the rival faction choose?

As suppression of the uprising in Iran escalates and the situation begins to radicalize, leading figures of the regime’s disenchanted factions tend to further distance themselves from the uprising and try to get closer to the regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in order to secure their own survival within the regime.

The State Expediency Council, chaired by the regime's former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who is the major rival to Khamenei, announced on 26 June that issues relating to the election must be pursued through legal avenues. The council also underscored Khamenei’s leadership role. Rafsanjani, moreover, has personally praised Khamenei in recent days and has even told some members of the regime’s Majlis (Parliament) that he feels eternal love for Khamenei.

Another former president of the regime, Mohammad Khatami, also from the rival faction, on 29 June reaffirmed his allegiance to the system of the religious dictatorship and called for an end to street protests. "We like and admire the Leader", he said.

Sadly, on the same day, defeated presidential contender Mir Hossein Mousavi backed down from his demand of annulling the election result despite describing it as illegitimate and ridden with fraud. On the one hand he protested: “From now on we will have a government that will have the least cordial relationship with the people. A majority of the people – including myself – do not accept its political legitimacy. It will be a government with weak popular and moral backing. One can only expect it to be unwise, non-transparent, evade the law, , ruin decision-making structures, and continue with its destructive economic policies.”

On the other hand,, Mousavi trumpeted the constitution of the velayat-e faqih regime (Absolute rule of the Supreme Religious Leader) as the “greatest pact” and even urged people to respect the constitution, even in its most hopeless form. He left no doubt that he vehemently opposes any sort of “modifications to the constitution as well as structure [regime]-shattering slogans”.

At the same time, he warned the ruling faction and said: “Leave some room for errors to be fixed [through legal channels]. If such avenues get closed structure shattering threats will appear as the only alternative, and all of us know the lofty costs associated with that, and so we firmly oppose it”. In short, he implicitly warns that if all roads to reform within the system get closed, the only alternative would be democratic change and the overthrow of the velayat-e faqih regime, an outcome that will be a detriment for all regime factions.

Mousavi clearly said in his statement that his initial goal for taking part in the election was to bring “religious reasoning” into the regime’s “governing practices.” However, he said, in the middle of the road, he was “guided towards much greater objectives,” which meant reminding the pillars of the regime that “ the people’s vote and decision reigns over and above all of them, and they neither have the right nor the ability to ignore it.”

Indeed, therein lies the crux of the matter, which glowed in the nationwide uprising and did not go unnoticed by Mr. Mousavi: The people’s vote, their determination and popular sovereignty rests over and above all attempts geared towards maintaining the rule of the religious dictatorship and the illegitimate velayat-e faqih regime, which must now be uprooted just like its predecessor, the Shah’s dictatorship. The source of all corruption in Iran is the velayat-e faqih regime (Absolute rule of the Supreme Religious Leader) and no effort or initiative can save it as in the past.

Mousavi’s recent stance demonstrated that:

• The anticipation for change or transformation within the context of the velayat-e faqih regime is nothing but a mirage.
• The issue is not over this or that candidate in the election; rather, the main point of conflict is between all Iranians on the one hand and the absolute rule of the Supreme Leader on the other.

What will the future hold for the uprising?

On 30 June, The Wall Street Journal published an article by Gerald Seib, in which it said, “It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the flames of protest are being slowly smothered in the streets of Iran. Still, even that will leave behind embers of opposition, and the key question in weeks ahead is whether there are any forces within Iran able to keep those embers smoldering.”

The answer to that question is as follows:

The world has now heard the Iranian people’s demand for freedom. It has become aware that the Iranian people are not afraid and stand united when it comes to freedom and the right to self sovereignty against the dictatorship of the Supreme Religious Leader. Iranians will not lose hope with the retreat or backing down of this or that defeated political actor. The uprising will continue at all cost by the people and the Iranian resistance movement. The Iranian people will not give in to fatigue and will not surrender. Instead, they will tire the regime out.

These days, even yesterday’s most ardent supporters of the Iranian regime acknowledge with surprise and shock that the regime of today is not the regime of yesterday. Fortunately, even Mr. Mousavi acknowledges the determination and resolve of the regime’s enemies, who are the majority of the Iranian people and the Iranian resistance movement with its pivotal organization, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).

In the coming articles, the question of the persistence of the uprising will be dealt with in more detail.

Analysis – Iranian uprising: Beginning of the end (other parts)