The moment of truth for the death of the Islamic Republic came when Ayatollah Khamenei broke with tradition and declared Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the victor in the election even before the polls had closed. Over the past two weeks he has ignored demands for a rerun of the controversial election or even a complete recount of the votes, insisting that Mr Ahmadinejad is President not because the people elected him but because the Supreme Leader says so.
Well there you go. Time to update the CIA Factbook, I guess.
The government-controlled media have highlighted the change in the nature of the regime. They now refer to Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech endorsing Mr Ahmadinejad’s re-election as “Fasl el-Khitab”, a theological term that means “end of the discussion”. Propaganda now refers to the ayatollah as “Emir al-Momeneen” (Commander of the Faithful), a title initially used for Ali ibn Abi-Talib, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law and the first imam of Shiaism.
An editorial last week in Kayhan, whose editor is appointed by the Ayatollah, put the new situation in graphic terms: “Imam Ali is back, the Commander of the Faithful. But this time he is not alone!” The editorial said that Iran was now ruled by “the Vicar of Allah” in a “pure Muhammadan system”.
The new system that seems to be emerging in Iran appears to be modelled on two Islamic states of recent times. The first is the imamate in Yemen — in which a descendant of the Prophet through Imam Ali ruled the country, with the Koran regarded as the imamate’s only Constitution. That was ended by a military coup in 1960.
So, the concept of “backfire” did come to mind, but then he says the Basij is made up of a bunch of country boys who are easy to recruit to the protesters sides. But then he says they could call the Revolutionary Guard, who might then grab power for themselves. So hey, at the times, they are a-changin’.