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Mousawi backs down

During Friday’s prayer, Ayatollah Khamenei implicitly rejected calls for a re-vote. The government will perform a cosmetic re-count instead.

Mousawi called on his supporters to stay at home “for the time being.”

The Iranian riots are growing increasingly thuggish, with significant property damage. The demonstrators attacked the police, reportedly causing 400 injuries. The Iranian militia also lost its temper, and used live ammo and acid against the crowds.

Since the riots are concentrated in Tehran, the regime is amply protected against possible disobedience by the troops: it can airlift more troops from the province.The Iranian regime can also employ its numerous paramilitary groups.

Unlike in the previous riots, the Revolutionary Guards’ commanders would firmly suppress the riots if the government were to ask them, because Mousawi’s rise to power threatens the Guards’ dominance in the government under Ahmadinejad.

As the old members of the Revolutionary Guards become increasingly detached from their conscript base, the regime will eventually lose its ability to quench insurrections, but that might take many years.

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