As I expected, Ali Khamene’i, the so-called Supreme Leader of Iran, has taken a ruthlessly hard line against the demonstrations in Iran. As far as he is concerned, everything went great, there were no problems, there was no fraud, and we all should be happy. He made sure to take all of the requisite potshots at the supposedly meddlesome West (this despite the fact that if anything, the West has not been meddlesome enough), and even made sure to take something of a shot against Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran, and the head of the Assembly of Experts, the powerful body that can, if necessary, remove the Supreme Leader from office.
The following passage from this story shows what appears to have been a slip by Khamene’i:
“Despite all the diversions, our people are faithful,” he said, but urged young Iranians to lead more spiritual lives. “The youth are confused. Being away from spirituality has caused confusion. They don’t know what to do,” he said.
I am sure that will go over just great with the youth, who have been protesting against the regime and who want fundamental change to take place in Iran. Why Khamene’i chose to antagonize young people anew is beyond me, unless he believes that he is absolutely unassailable.
It is not clear that the reformists will prevail. But it is utterly foolish to state that Khamene’i and his ilk are unassailable, after recent events.