The Iranian government's crackdown on the Shiite holy day of Ashura this past weekend left at least nine Green Movement protesters dead, including a nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, whom many consider the rightful winner of the disputed presidential election in June. As the protest movement grows more forceful, some commentators are asking if the Green Movement has pushed Ayatollah Ali Khameni's beleagured regime to the tipping point. (Watch a report about opposition in Iran)
This is the beginning of the end for Khameni: The legitimacy of Ayatollah Ali Khameni's already "profoundly shaken" regime "is now being shredded," says Informed Consent blogger Juan Cole. The size and geographic scope of the Ashura protests marks a new stage in the Green Movement, and the killing of Mousavi's nephew — the Mousavis are "putative descendants of the Prophet Muhammad" — on Ashura "borders on insanity."
"Iran roiled... Chanting against theocrat Khamenei..."
It's not over yet: I remain "skeptical" that "the Green Movement has the upper hand," even after Sunday's "apparently massive protests," says Blake Hounshell in Foreign Policy. But the "radicalization" of both sides helps the protesters. The crowds are now chanting "Death to Khameni," and not even the despised shah — overthrown in the 1979 revolution — dared to kill people on Ashura.
"Which Iranian radicals will win?"
It's up to Khameni now: "More than ever, the future of this regime hinges on Ayatollah Ali Khameni," says Meir Javedanfar at Frontline. If he continues with his "unrelenting" crackdown and anti-Islamic policies, he'll see an "Iranian-style intifada" and his government's "total demise." But he can still "save his regime" if he reins in the violence and modifies his economic policies.
"The start of an Iranian intifada"
Anti-Khameni does not mean pro-U.S.: Like "most in the West," I'd "like to see the Green Movement succeed," says Greg Scoblete in RealClearWorld. But we shouldn't delude ourselves: if the Greens succeed, that doesn't mean we'd get "a government that's congenial with Washington's view of how Iran should behave itself in the Middle East."
"How does the Green Movement end"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week