Traditionally, Iran’s Islamic republic celebrates its birthday
Feb. 11 with a massive rally, chants of “Death to America,” the burning
of US flags, and even an effigy contest.
But as Iranians now brace for the 31st anniversary of the 1979
Islamic revolution, they know that eight months of pro-democracy protest
and the regime’s violent reaction have transformed the relationship
between rulers and ruled.
Analysts say that Iran’s legitimacy
crisis has now come to a head, with both sides incapable of defeating or
intimidating the other – a paralysis that could continue, or yield
Opposition leaders have signaled in recent weeks that
they’re inching toward a face-saving way for Iran’s supreme religious
leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to compromise – in the interest of
preserving Iran’s Islamic system of government.
“I do see both
Iranian society and Iranian elite structures robust enough, creative
enough, flexible enough, and competitive enough to have all the elements
of a gradual process of give-and-take that will lead Iran in a
different direction,” says Farideh Farhi, an Iran expert at the
University of Hawaii.
Yet the damage has been severe to the
pillars of a revolutionary regime that for… >>>