The chain of dramatic events in Tehran confirms that Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his supporters have committed a fatal error in clumsily planning its elections. Although nothing more than slight differences separated a populist president in power from a leader like Hussein Musavi (more moderate but equally supportive of the regime), the entire basis of the Islamic Republic now seems to be threatened.
Thirty years of the regime in power represent a distance of two generations between the ones who designed this theocratic dictatorship and the ones that scream for the end of the suffocating conduct based in a medieval mythology. The Ayatollah’s government has been confronted with the paradox of the Internet and new public information channels playing an essential role in the events of a place they wanted to keep isolated from the rest of the world. It’s not very useful to expel foreign reporters when any citizen who has a cell phone with a camera can transmit the repression that is being enforced in the streets of Tehran to a universal audience.
If there was any doubt about the influence of this election, no one can deny the significance of this week’s events any longer. Even if the voting were repeated – and the votes counted correctly – it’s unlikely that the Iranians would forget the killing of their fellow citizens and Ahmadinejad’s responsibility for the oppression. What happened in Tehran in the last several days was not a simple protest, but a massive rebellion of the population that the regime has tried to suppress through the use of force.
The clearest sign that the situation is more serious than it appears is the intervention of influential personalities, such as Mohamed Kathami and the Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, in favor of the protesters. Perhaps it’s no more than an attempt to prevent the protests from overflowing, but it seems to encourage the demonstrations and deprive the Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini of the authority to stop the protests. As for Ahmadinejad, it’s not surprising that he accused the U.S. and Great Britain of organizing the protests. All the western governments have chosen to maintain a safe distance from the events precisely to avoid being accused of inciting them. The moment has come to openly express that the demonstrators are right and that relations with Ahmadinejad cannot go back to normal, just as the Iranians, after the bloodshed, cannot return to what was a thirty-year normality.