The Question of Political Strategy in Iran’s Green Movement

What is now known as Iran’s Green Movement was born on June 13, 2009, in reaction to massive electoral fraud during the Islamic Republic’s tenth presidential election. The aftermath of the elections sent shockwaves throughout the regime, especially as many believed the government was desperate to show internal solidarity and legitimacy ahead of potentially historic negotiations with the U.S. administration.

Following the election, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the reformist contenders-turned-opposition leaders, gave their blessings to the impromptu civil protests. In the past seven months, they have endorsed and even taken part in a number of the demonstrations. This itself represents a turning point in Iranian politics. Since President Mohammad Khatami ushered in a Reform movement in 1997, the Islamic Republic’s reformist statesmen had never directly sided with student protesters and other civil society forces or participated in their contentious politics.

Notwithstanding the Reformists’ integral role in confronting regime hardliners, it is still unclear who is really providing political guidance to the Green Movement: the symbolic leadership triangle of Mousavi-Karroubi-Khatami, or the invisible grassroots network of activists, including students, bloggers, neighborhood activists, women, the expatriate community, and political pundits. While the seventeen official statements issued by Mousavi have at times endorsed a return to the original values… >>>

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