Let’s leave aside, for today, Vice President Biden’s incredibly destructive comments on Israel’s “sovereign” right to bomb Iran, remarks that are widely being interpreted in the Middle East as a green light from the United States for Israel to launch an attack. If the bungling veep meant what he said, then we’re in big trouble. Even if he didn’t, it’s bound to give fuel to Iran’s hardliners in their inane campaign to blame the US, the UK and Israel for Iran’s home-grown opposition movement. Thankfully, comments from a White House spokesman and from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs may have undercut Babblin’ Joe this time.
In Iran itself, efforts by the Ahmadinejad-Khamenei regime to silence the opposition clearly aren’t working yet. The street protests, brutally suppressed, have quieted. But the political opposition continues to build.
Most important, none of the oppositionists are backing down. Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and former President Khatami have all continued to press their challenge to the regime. According to a reformist newspaper in Iran, Etemad-e-Melli, Mousavi is planning to organize a political party that can carry the movement forward. (There are, in Iran, no real political parties. In the election, although Mousavi ran with the support of the reformist establishment, students, the business class, women, and other constituencies — including many clerics — he did not have a political party to support him, with offices in cities and provinces and a staff.)
Mousavi also laid out a detailed challenge to the fraudulent, June 12 presidential election, in a 24-page document issued Saturday. He pointed out that the interior minister, who counted the votes, and the head of the Guardian Council, who certified the bogus result, are both close allies of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad who’d endorsed the president’s reelection. He noted that the commanders of the Revolutionary Guard had said they wouldn’t accept anyone but Ahmadinejad. And he charged that twenty million extra ballots were printed. Amid charges that he is a traitor and threats to arrest him, Mousavi’s latest moves show that he isn’t giving up.