Trita Parsi on the Iranian Opposition

I asked Parsi if the opposition’s goal was still to overturn the election, given that its legal recourses are few, and if not, what a new goal might be. “The goal at this stage remains” a fair election result, he replied, since the “wiggle room is still extensive” for overturning the election. Contingencies could emerge, compelling an overturn of the results, such as “a large number of senior ayatollahs com[ing] out to criticize the legitimacy of the electoral results” or if the opposition could “get a majority of 86 people on the Assembly of Experts to come out, that can really threaten Khamenei and his institutions.”
Parsi further explained … that the critical constituency would be conservative clerics who feel threatened by Ahmadinejad’s consolidation of power. In an irony from the perspective of the American debate about Iran — which conflates reformism with secularism — the clerics see Ahmadinejad “as a dangerous element, quite correctly, who tries to undermine the clergy as a whole.” That might compel some of them to resist Ahmadinejad, or to place pressure on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to find some compromise with the opposition.
But if a compromise can’t be found, then the opposition enters a new phase, having to face a choice between accepting Ahmadinejad and moving to a more radical position. “There are people loyal to the system, who don’t want to bring the system down but at the same time believe the system is q… >>>

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