Saturday, June 20, 2009

Heads Will Roll

Whose heads is yet to be determined. For the time being an estimated 500 dissenters have been placed on ice, incarcerated in Iran's unwholesome prison system. How many of them may be sacrificed as martyrs to their vision of justice is another matter altogether. And although to date it is estimated that eight Iranians have died in brutal assaults on peaceful demonstrators, it is also being bandied about that this is the mere tip of the deadly iceberg.

But there has been some back-peddling on the part of the Islamic Republic. For one thing, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now soothingly says that all Iranians - despite some of whom having denied the legitimacy of the vote that has re-installed him as president and whom he threatened darkly with his own measure of official vengeance - have value to the regime.

And the demonstration-alarmed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei who had attempted to soothe anger, has now firmly denounced those who illegally and irresponsibly advocate for nullification of the God-inspired vote. Clearly he must be correct in informing his adoring public that it is the evil work of Zionists fulminating, agitating and scheming against his sacred reign.

Ayatollah Khamenei, elevated to his exalted position through the auspices of the influential Hashemi Rafsanjani who discovered too late that he would not be able to control the Ayatollah as he had planned, is irate at the very thought of the Iranian people turning against his theocracy. So he has stood foursquare and righteously against popular opinion of vote-rigging.

Nothing could possibly be further from the truth. The Iranian Republic would not indulge in such skulduggery, and people should banish such unworthy thoughts from their minds. It is the fault of the foreign press, Western interests all of whom are manipulated by evil Zionist manipulators. All the more reason for Iranians to detest Israel in particular and Jews in general.

Yet here is a former president, a senior cleric who heads the Assembly of Experts, Hashemi Rafsanjani, supporting and standing with the failed presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi whose supporters have flooded the streets of Tehran in protest. Along with another senior cleric and former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, allying himself with the protest.

And Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri who has proclaimed that "A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress all critical views." Denouncing his government for fixing the election, and for persecuting its opponents. Will Ayatollah Khamenei invoke the Basij and the Revolutionary Guard to apprehend and torture and murder these adversaries?

The Supreme Leader seems to believe he can continue to elevate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as his henchman above the general protests of the country's youth and its intellectuals, its academics and its women. In the process leading those signal segments of the population to disdain him where initially they would have been prepared to respect and retain his authority, replacing Ahmadinejad with Moussavi.

So what now? All out bloodshed, civil war? The end of the Iranian Islamist Revolution?

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