A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran After a Week

It's been a week since the Iranian elections, and Khamene'i's sermon today seems to be chellenging the demonstrtors rather than conciliating them. He appears to have said that he will hold Mousavi responsible for their actions if Mousavi does not call on them to refrain from the big demonstration planned tomorrow: that puts Mousavi in a spot: back off, and leave the demonstrators exposed, or cross the Rubicon and open up unforeseeable developments.

It's been a week that must have exhausted many of the energies of the protesters — as it has, I think, of the Western commentators as well. But I suspect that the real decisive moment may come this weekend: does Mousavi back off, which could begin a process of acquiescence in the results, or does he directly challenge the Supreme Leader himself?

I've said before that it isn't clear if this is leading to storming the Bastille or to Tienanmen, and at this moment a week into the drama, it's still very much up in the air.

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