Iran's Green Movement Shifts Gears

By Jamsheed K. Choksy, on , Briefing

A number of recent moves suggest that Iran's mullahs and secular leaders are bridging their recent differences, even if their reconciliation is a begrudging one. These developments are not wholly unexpected. Essentially, the two sides are putting their political, confessional, and personal self-interest above all other considerations. But although the shift will result in a short-term loss of leadership figures for the opposition, the Green Movement's desire for sweeping change has now become mainstream.

Perhaps the most prominent among opposition leaders who have recently come in from the cold is former two-time president and consummate political survivor, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Having failed in his efforts to convince the Assembly of Experts to remove Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Rafsanjani once again accepted Khamenei's authority, claiming that "enemies' plots against Iran's Islamic system and the concept of velayat-e faqih [rule of the jurists] have been foiled." He then extolled his former foe as "the most qualified person to resolve the current problems," and even remarked fawningly, "The Supreme Leader has never endorsed extremism or transgression of the law by any political party." ...

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