Whither Iran?
Anti-War.com / Farideh Farhi

The confrontation that took place in the streets of several large cities in Iran on the occasion of Ashura has brought the acrimonious political fight among the Islamic Republic’s elite into focus in significantly different ways than before.

Not only did many protesters demonstrate unprecedented willingness to confront the security forces, but the reaction by hard-line forces also suggests a determination to remain intransigent, fight crowds with crowds, and court the possibility of continued civil strife.Unless Iran’s security establishment and hard-line forces are persuaded to take up a more creative strategy that includes accommodation of some of the protestors’ demands and redress for the egregious abuses that have occurred since the Jun. 12 elections, a dangerous deadlock punctuated by persistent street clashes that pits part of the population against another may be the coming year’s most likely scenario.

These dynamics highlight the dysfunction and political paralysis of the Islamic Republic even more than its repressive strength or its potential crackup.

If, in the immediate post-election period, the iconic pictures streaming out of Iran were of crowds walking silently in unison with upraised hands calling for the peaceful reversal of the official election results, they were replaced on Dec. 27 with images of confrontations between groups of demonstrators and either security forces or groups supp... >>>

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