Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Not Over: After A Lull, Mousavi Comes Out Swinging (Updated)

After indications that the protests were lessening, Mousavi speaks out:
After days of relative quiet, the candidate defeated in Iran's disputed presidential election launched a broadside Thursday against the nation's leadership, an indication that the country's political rift is far from over.

In his statement, Mir-Hossein Mousavi issued a rare attack on supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accusing him of not acting in the interests of the country, and said Iran had suffered a dramatic change for the worse.

Mousavi's forceful remarks appeared to show that the former prime minister is willing to risk his standing as a pillar of the Islamic Republic to take on Iran's powerful leadership. And they seemed aimed at securing his position at the head of a broad movement seeking change.

He also slammed state-controlled broadcasters, which have intensified a media blitz against him and his supporters with allegations that unrest over the June 12 election was instigated by Iran's international foes. And he pledged to pursue his quest to have President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection annulled.
What is new in Mousavi's statement is that beyond disputing the results of the election and making accusations of fraud--is that he is openly attacking Khamenei:
Though the cleric is usually considered beyond public reproach, Mousavi seemed more than willing to confront Khamenei, who broke with tradition by openly taking sides in factional political rows.

"The leadership's support to the government under normal circumstances is helpful," Mousavi said. "However, if the leadership and the president are the same, it will not be in the interests of the country."

He also challenged the fact that Khamenei, while insisting that those who question the vote results should pursue legal means of recourse, had closed off most avenues for doing that and shuttered news outlets critical of the election.
Read the whole thing.

Apparently Michael Ledeen's evaluation is correct:
Some are asking whether the insurrection/revolution is losing steam. It is a legitimate question, especially in a world of famously short attention spans. It does not apply to the fighters in Iran, for whom life is no longer doled out in six-minute bytes. For them, the big issue is winning, and the immediate issue is getting through the day. And then the night. They are looking for various ways of fighting, since direct confrontation, at least at the moment, has limited appeal. Thus we see the hit-and-run attacks about which Eli Lake wrote this morning in the Washington Times [link], and which the Guardian links to.

There are many things we do not see, and which we would not see even if the regime weren’t trying to isolate Iran from the world. We still don’t know whether, as widely rumored, Rafsanjani has obtained the signatures of many senior clerics, calling for either the replacement of Khamenei or the abolition of the position of supreme leader (which would be the end of the Islamic Republic). If he has such a document, what will he do with it? Hard to know or even to guess.

Mousavi: instead of shrinking into the background he is becoming more aggressive and more outspoken. And he is winning some important allies, such as Tehran mayor Qalibaf, who has come out for peaceful demonstrations.
At least in regards to that last point, we know that Ledeen is right.
So was Yogi Berra: It ain't over till it's over.

UPDATE: In its update for June 25, niacINsight reports that Congressman Eric Cantor is asking for hearings:
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi today asking for joint hearings on the situation in Iran.
I know that you share our deep concern about the growing violence and brutality in Iran. Unfortunately, it has become clear that the cleric-backed Iranian regime has decided to end the public demonstrations through violent oppression.

Today, I am asking you to call on House committees to hold joint hearings on the situation in Iran, the policies of the United States towards Iran, and any need for changes in our policy
Read the whole thing.
niacINsight has a copy of Cantor's letter [PDF]

Among the people Cantor wants to hear testimony from is Secretary of the Treasury Geithner on immediate economic sanctions that can be imposed on Iran.

If successful, Cantor will push the US beyond what many see as Obama's tepid response to events in Iran.

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