synthetic zero

June 28th, 2009

I sent this email on my speculations about the situation in Iran to Andrew Sullivan just now, which he quoted more or less in its entirety:

Trying to figure out what is going on in Iran behind the scenes is obviously tricky and fraught with potential error, but I’ll list out my evidence and then my speculation for your consideration.

1) Larijani and a majority of the conservative-led Majlis did not show up for Ahmadinejad’s victory party.

2) Larijani announces the formation of a committee to investigate violence against students and protesters, prompting some calls for his impeachment.

3) Rafsanjani issues a cryptic statement, calling for fair investigations into the vote.

4) Rafsanjani’s daughter attends the rally today, according to reports.

5) Guardian Council makes more concessions to try to get Mousavi’s participation in the recount, now including involving more people than they’d originally suggested for the review board.

6) Businesses are reporting huge drops in shoppers in Tehran’s bazaar and elsewhere, as the city suffers being under lockdown.

7) Khamenei conspicuously singles out Rafsanjani for praise in his Friday prayers over a week ago.

Here’s my speculation.

Khamenei is afraid that Rafsanjani could depose him, but Rafsanjani is unwilling to depose Khamenei unilaterally as he rightly fears that such a move might not succeed as the military  might move against him regardless of votes he may have or not have in Qom. Regardless, the two are warily eyeing each other and thus Khamenei is open to some pressure from Rafsanjani even though Rafsanjani is unwilling to move dramatically against him.

The continued tension in Tehran isn’t being dispelled by the police state tactics, and it is hurting business; this could lead to a downward spiral if the government maintains its attempt to quell dissent through massive police presence.

Today’s demonstration clearly indicates people aren’t “back to business as usual” — they’re angry, disturbed, and still willing to demonstrate in large numbers whenever they get the chance. Clearly the government has a hard task — and their crude efforts to contain the crisis are not convincing the people. My guess is that Rafsanjani may be trying to force the government to bring Mousavi and Karroubi together to certify the election result in order to restore Iranian stability.

The government is thus getting more desperate to get them to participate, because they may be beginning to realize that the anger among the people is having a long term impact on the country. My guess is that this also serves to somewhat restrain the government. It’s evident possibly even majorities of a number of councils and parliament are suspicious of the election outcome. I don’t think this revolution is anywhere close to over.

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