- So, how does the Supreme Leader get the gig? He’s appointed by the awesomely-named Assembly of Experts. They made him, and they can unmake him. While there doesn’t seem to be the will to unseat Khamenei just at the present moment, keep a eye on these guys.
- File under shifting winds: Yesterday, more then a third of Iran’s 290-memer parliament didn’t show up for a victory party for Ahmadinejad.
- Note the geography of Tehran, which is a sprawling low-density city (not unlike Miami) connected by highways. This is part of why we haven’t seen the dramatic protest photos this week that we saw last week; it’s not for an absence of protests. It’s because the government has shut down many of the highways and imposed brutal martial law, making it impossible for people to get to each other. Instead of one protest of hundreds of thousands, there are smaller protests scattered around the city.
- As Nic points out, the Basij has been savage in all of this. Listen to this woman to get a sense of what some of the protests have been like. On the other hand, many soldiers in the much larger Revolutionary Guard have shown an increasing unwillingness to be inhuman towards their fellow citizens. Once the momentum really starts to shift you may see them begin to outright ignore orders, and the bottom may begin to drop out of everything.
- More then two thirds of Iran’s population is under 30(!), born after the revolution of 1979.
- As the protests continue, and spread around the world, (fueled in no small part by the video of Neda Agha-Soltan’s death), pressure on the Iranian government mounts.
- There is the idea going around that this could never have happened under Bush, who united the various political factions in Iran against himself. So it is precisely President Obama’s tone and handling of international politics that deserves recognition here.
- The NYT has a nifty infographic of the timeline of the events so far. Also do not miss Karim Sadjadpour on Fresh Air, from whom I’m stealing some of these observations.
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