Iran Launches Preemptive War Against July 9 Protests

The Iranian people are adapting to these new conditions. They are shouting "Allah Akbar!" on rooftops at night and holding silent, candlelight vigils rather than organizing into large masses. On July 2, they began "political traffic," where for a few hours Iranians drove in the streets to cause jams. This shows the lengths to which the Iranians are willing to go to express themselves in any way possible.

The split among the religious elite is going to provide additional momentum for the protests that will emerge on July 9 and in the days thereafter, cracking the very theological foundations the regime justifies its existence upon. The Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom, described by the New York Times as "the most important group of religious leaders in Iran," has dismissed the election results. Following this announcement, the party of Rafsanjani, former president and current chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which chooses and dismisses the supreme leader, has officially stated its position that the elections were fraudulent.

Even when faced with this potentially fatal rebuke from religious leaders, the regime is hunkering down rather than offering any form of concession. Those that favor the general preservation of the theocratic nature of the regime but oppose Khamenei and Ahmadinejad personally for their transgressions and those that favor democratic transformation will provide a sandwiching effect from which no unpopular figurehead can survive indefinitely.

The reaction of the regime has been to become even more brutal, guaranteeing its inevitable fall but delaying the time when that day arrives. The regime appears to be gearing up to arrest Mousavi, an immensely provocative move. One of Khamenei's closest advisors has labeled Mousavi an American agent, an offense frequently used to justify arrest. The Basiji has also formally asked for his prosecution, citing nine alleged violations, including "disturbing the nation's security."

Michael Ledeen writes that Khamenei has ordered that all demonstrations be forcibly put down and all unrest ended by July 11. Khamenei knows there is a tidal wave against him and only maximum force can keep his head barely above water. The drowning of the regime has begun -- and it can only hold its breath for so long.