The current protests could be repressed, but this is not a regime that can last many more years. The unity of the ruling elite established by Ayatollah Khomeini that allowed the regime to dominate the Iranian people for almost 30 years has now been shattered.
Huge numbers of Iranians haven't been demonstrating at risk of beatings and worse for the only marginally moderate Mousavi. His courage under pressure has certainly raised his popularity, but he is still no more than the accidental symbol of an emerging political revolution.
After years of humiliating social repression and gross economic mismanagement, the more educated and the more productive citizens of Iran have mostly turned their backs on the regime.
Had Mousavi won the election, modest steps to liberalize the system would only have triggered demands for more change, eventually bringing down the entire system of clerical rule. In the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev's cautious reforms designed to perpetuate the Communist regime ended up destroying it in less than five years.
Even if he remains in office, Ahmadinejad cannot really function as president.
(Wall Street Journal)
Tehran Suffers Image Damage Amid Turmoil -Yaroslav Trofimov
The turmoil in Iran is threatening to reshape the balance of power in the Middle East, denting the Islamic Republic's regional standing and spooking some Arab regimes with the specter of similar people-power uprisings.
Not long ago, Iran seemed to be inexorably rising as the major regional power, with Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric against America and Israel garnering him a devoted following on the Arab street.
But, over the past week, the vivid TV images have punctured Iran's carefully constructed image as a champion of the oppressed masses. "It's no longer the same Iran - Iran suddenly appears to everybody as not a very successful country internally," says Ilter Turkmen, a former Turkish foreign minister.
(Wall Street Journal)
Persian Paranoia -Christopher Hitchens
There is nothing at all that any Western country can do to avoid the charge of intervening in Iran's foreign affairs. It is a mistake to assume that the ayatollahs are acting rationally.
There is then the question of the Iranian theocracy and its continual, arrogant intervention in our affairs: its export of violence and cruelty and lies to Lebanon and Palestine and Iraq and its unashamed defiance of the UN, the EU, and the IAEA on nuclear weapons.
Coexistence with a nuclearized, fascistic theocracy in Iran is impossible even in the short run.