IRAN: Domestic Conflict Shifts into Higher Gear

HONOLULU, U.S., Dec 16  (IPS)  – Although the tumult that has gripped Iran since the contested Jun. 12 election has never abated, two recent occurrences have highlighted the further sharpening of internal conflict and the government’s inability to restore stability in the face of creative ways the opposition has learned to use the symbols of the Islamic Republic in order to sustain itself.

The uproar over former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s public insistence on the regime’s need to respect popular demands and the government-staged outrage over the burning of the picture of the Islamic Revolution’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, during University Student Day demonstrations Dec. 7 have made clear that the political crisis at the heart of the establishment is intensifying.

The politics surrounding both of these occurrences suggest a dangerous deadlock and an urgent need for renegotiating political power among the various contenders, as the government seems unable to bring a degree of calm and political efficacy to the Iranian political system. However, this urgent need has yet to translate into a systemic will to overcome the political paralysis that has taken hold.

As such, recent events in all likelihood augur the entry into a new phase in which direct public confrontation among key players working within the system will become the norm despite the explicit, even if half-hearted, plea by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for calm an… >>>

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