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Mousawi tests Khamenei's nerves

Some 40,000 Iranians braved the regime’s ban on demonstrations to demand a vote recount. Thugs have availed themselves of the opportunity to rampage at night.

Though most analysts concentrate on the fact that Mousawi is a member of the Old Guard, that does not disqualify him as a reformer. Gorbachev was similarly deeply entrenched in the Communist Party hierarchy, and likewise scores of reformers. Mousawi today is a very different man from the Hezbollah founder he was two decades ago.

The best evidence of Mousawi’s anti-establishment stance comes from Ayatollah Khamenei. He supports Ahmadinejad, who has no power base of his own and is loyal to the ayatollahs. Mousawi is disloyal to the extent of urging the rotation of the Grand Ayatollah. Mousawi’s policies would weaken if not completely undermine Iran’s totalitarian regime. Since the clerical regime is deeply unpopular with the masses, a small crack might spell its demise.

Mousawi is not acting alone, but spearheads a significant group of clerics and politicians ousted by Khamenei.

Iranians are remarkably nice and polite people, and it takes a huge effort to push them toward revolution. Khamenei’s regime does not seem so rotten yet as the Shah’s, and so it can still suppress Mousawi.

Israel can use the power vacuum to attack Iran immediately, or she can support Mousawi with UN motions. Not profiting from the crisis either way is stupid.

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