Iran : Why it Couldn’t
In Iran, three separate strands of opposition to the Iranian regime are active. The first is the so-called Green Movement, a clergy-led reformist group that emerged in the late 1990s, twice elected Mohammad Khatami as president with an overwhelming majority—even among members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps—and then led strong protests in 2009, led by Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. The second is a pragmatic, business-class force, whose leader is Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, which wants better relations with the West and an end to economic sanctions. And the third is a secular, overtly anti-clerical group, mostly middle class, that rejects the very idea of an Islamic republic. Reinvigorated now by the Arab revolt, from Tunisia, Libya and Egypt to the Gulf states and Iraq, these forces are trying to make their impact felt in the streets once again. Were they to be joined by labour unions, such as oil and transport workers, and by the merchant class that controls Iran’s urban bazaars, they conceivably could bring down the regime or, at the very least, force Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, to throw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overboard. By Robert Dreyfuss, an independent, investigative journalist in the Washington, D.C, area. He writes frequently for The Nation, Rolling Stone, and other publications. His blog, The Dreyfuss Report, appears at TheNation.com.
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