For the moment setting aside theories regarding Khamenei’s quarrel with Ahmadinejad being a distraction tactic, it is getting harder to distinguish the goals of the immediate post revolution Green protesters from the Ahmadinejad/Mashaei position. If Ahamadinejad had not exacerbated his alienation from Mousavi voters with his khas o khashaak speech, would he now be attracting some of that crowd to his side? Here are two positive (from a liberal view) points of apparent agreement between the opposing parties:
1. Civil liberties. In the past Ahmadinejad has made statements suggesting a liberal position regarding the degree to which the government can interfere with the private affairs of people. For example, he was in favor of women attending soccer games. Other examples are interviews in which he seems to express disapproval of extra-judicial “partying” arrests where due process procedures are available.
2. Iranian identity vs. Islamic identity. Ahmadinejad’s close relationship with Mashaei who promotes a stronger Iranian identity suggests there will be greater freedom for Iranians-artists, filmmakers, or scholars– who wish present our unity in nationalistic terms as compared to religious terms.
3. Both Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are now in open opposition to Khamenei.
Here are some negative parallels:
1. Ahamadinjead cooperated-at least with silence– in the post election arrests, rapes and killings of protesters. Mousavi cooperated–at least with silence– in the post revolution executions. Yet the post election protesters seem not to be concerned with past complicit behavior, otherwise they would not have supported Mousavi. They could extend the same amnesty to Ahmadinejad had he not explicitly called them his enemy with his khas o khasaak speech.
2. Ahmadinejad stands by the Khoemini “doctorine.” Mousavi stands by the Khomeini “doctrine.”
3. Ahmadinejad continues to use anti-Zionism as a substitute for foreign policy. Mousavi and his influential supporters seem to fear letting go of this approach, as evidenced by Dr. Mohsen Kadivar’s initial denial that some protesters chanted “na ghazeh, na lobnan…”
So much for obvious parallels. However, there may be less obvious but more important differences. I am soliciting views as to what those differences are?