This analysis relies on certain assumptions. If correct, principlists who hope to survive must conclude that drastic change is the only solution. Based on public fears and known positions of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, they are coming to grasp that no "successful" resolution is possible so long as Khamenei and Ahmadinejad enjoy any political power. No hen will accept a henhouse where foxes are left in charge.
ARE THESE ASSUMPTIONS UNREASONABLE?
1. The ONLY principalists who still retain strong motives to stick with Khamenei are a minority, consisting mainly of die-hard ideologues and individuals who have committed too many crimes to have an "out."
2. Most principlists are opportunists. They know when a lifeboat is needed.
3. (Though some readers will object...) Some principlists do indeed have moral objections. In 2009 Khamenei convinced many principlists to stick with him by lying: the crackdown would be the lesser or two evils, short in duration and relatively mild. In 1964 LBJ misled Congress, and thereby won overwhelming approval of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution--a disaster that led to endless escalation of the war in Viet Nam and turmoil on the home front. Many who voted for it later became bitter critics and decried trickery. The same is happening in Iran now for similar reasons.
4. Most principlists are savvy realists--the opposite of ideologues. Realists must conclude--based on repeated evidence--that Iran's problems (economic decline, external isolation and pariah status, a deeply alienated populace, discredited elections, the "need" for intimidation and a police state) can only grow worse as long as Khamenei and Ahmadinejad enjoy political power. They share with Iran's people a desire to avoid ending up like Syria today. That's not good for anyone.
IF YOU ACCEPT THOSE ASSUMPTIONS, WHAT FOLLOWS?
Except for the first group above, all other principlists are reaching the inevitable conclusion: nothing can be salvaged unless the public can be won back. So long as Khamenei and Ahmadinejad enjoy an ounce of polical power, chances are zero. That move must be accompanied by the release of all political prisoners, an immediate end to censorship, a de-programming and dissolution of militias, an end to social policiing, the arrest of any long-protected individuals alleged to have committed serious crimes and a no-holes barred investigation into such crimes culminating in an open, credible and detailed release of findings. Almost none of these measures are conceivable under Khamenei or Ahmadinehad. The final step would be a reconciliation commission.
Notice that I am not talking "coup" here. The best way to remove Khamenei is a constitutionally sanctioned one, via the Assembly of Experts. Yes, it is made up of conservatives but how many are disenchanted, realistic principlists? As for offending the pious, the usual bunch of liberal ayatollahs is now being supplemented by conservative principlists. Finally, I've provided good reasons for elements within the IRCG to support such a move. You'll find all that in an upcoming link just below.
RECENT EVENTS CONFIRM ACCELERATING "INSIDER" DISAFFECTION WITH BOTH LEADERS
Insider criticism of Khamenei is growing rapidly. Yesterday I looked at why I think a certain news item seems especially significant (even if it got little attention in the press or anywhere else). You may have missed it because it appeared in a subpost under an unrealted news item. I suggest ou start there before going further. It's the "Assembly of Experts" subpost.
CONSERVATIVE ALI MOTAHARI GOES ON THE ATTACK
“The main people to blame [for unrest after the 2009 Presidential election] were those who managed the crisis. Some of the population were discontented. But how must they have been dealt with? Let’s even say that their leaders were traitors; But all these ordinary citizens and [religious] women in chador came out and protested; Shouldn’t we have allowed them to assemble in order to gradually extinguish the turmoil?”
OBSERVATION: Extinguishing "the turmoil" is the overriding concern of most principalists. So who stands inthe way?
AHMADINEJAD'S UNPOPULARITY DEMONSTRATED IN FUNNY PHOTO
Enduring America offers the following short report, accompanied by a clever photo in which Ahmadinejad and five pals sit up on a stage addressing a political rally. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:
The media outlet of principlist Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, gloats that the speakers outnumbered the audience at a pro-Ahmadinejad Resistance Front event.
RAFSANJANI, THE "CAT WITH NINE LIVES" RE-EMERGES TO PLAY A ROLE
Hated by Ahmadinejad, Rafsanjani continues to offend Khamenei for having refused to condemn post-election protestors and to encourage voters to turn out. He seems to be emerging as a major player in the movement for change. According to EA, this is what Motahari had to say about Rafsanjani after the latter was criticized in Parliament today by a Ahmadinejad supporter:
Supporting Rafsanjani's letter to the Supreme Leader, which warned of manipulation of the 2009 Presidential election, he said that Rafsanjani's July 2009 Tehran Friday Prayer --- his last appearance on the podium and a high-water mark for the Green Movement --- was "correct."
WILL A LOW TURNOUT ENCOURAGE ESSENTIAL CONCLUSIONS?
Most principlists and IRCG generals despise Ahmadinejad. Principalists worry that the turnout may suck and that Ahmadinejad's forces will benefit thereby. They blame Khamenei's stubborn persistanc in deeply hated policies for creating this dilemna. dilmenna. Here's what EA has to say about conservsative election fears:
Amidst economic concerns and reports of resignation after 32 months of repression and political conflict, it is uncertain how many Iranians will turn out for the Parliamentary elections on 2 March, but no one can deny the regime's efforts to get them to the ballot box.
On Monday, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, the head of the Unity Front, and Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi issued an announcement asking people to participate in high numbers.
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