These kinds of predictions are perilous to make, but it is difficult not to conclude that something interesting is amiss when one reads Robin Wright’s account of the formation of an opposition manifesto:
Iran’s so-called green movement is not yet a counterrevolution, but recent developments make clear it is heading in that direction. Seven months after the uprising began, an opposition manifesto is finally taking shape, and its sweeping demands would change the face of Iran.
Three bold statements calling for reform have been issued since Friday, one by opposition presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, one by a group of exiled religious intellectuals and the third by university professors. Taken together, they suggest that the movement will not settle for anything short of radical change.
The statements set tough preconditions for a political truce: resignation of the current leadership, introduction of broad democratic freedoms, prosecution of security forces engaged in violence against the opposition and an end to politics in the military, universities and the clergy.
The proposed reforms would amount to a total overhaul of the system. But they also reflect a common desire to prevent an all-out confrontation by engaging the regime in compromise and ending the escalating violence. The three sets of demands all accept that Iran will remain an Islamic republic, if largely in name only.
That last point may become negotiable, eventually. Of course, if we do indeed see the advent of a new Iranian revolution, we may very well have Ali Khamene’i to thank for it. If the Islamic regime were forbidden from digging its own grave with Iranians, it probably would not have much to do.