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Another Showdown at the Mullahs' Corral

I wonder if Khamenei has the nerve to go all the way.  He fears he will pay a big price for a “Chinese” massacre in the streets of Tehran.  On the one hand, a move against the Green leaders might provoke a massive uprising throughout the country.  On the other, he might find himself in personal difficulties.  In the past few days he  has received two distinguished visitors.  The first was Grand Ayatollah Abdul Karim Mousavi-Ardebili, from Qom, one of the country’s leading clerics.  Mousavi-Ardebili asked Khamenei to back off, to restrain from using violence against the people, and to release the political prisoners.  Khamenei told him to pound sand.  When Mousavi-Ardebili went to his car, Khamenei accompanied him, and before getting into the vehicle, the Grand Ayatollah said to Khamenei “you remind me of the shah in his final days;  you have lost contact with the country, you do not understand what is going on.”

Maybe so.  But it is also possible that Khamenei knows full well what is happening, and is determined to fight to the end.

The other distinguished visitor was Hashemi Rafsanjani, “the fox,” one of the richest men in the Middle East and a high government official who knows where all the bodies are buried.  Various accounts of this meeting — a very unpleasant one according to all the leakers — are circulating.

One thing is certain:  it was a long (3 ½ hours) and very contentious conversation, with Rafsanjani ominously speaking of dire consequences if the regime continued to slaughter the opposition.  It seems Rafsanjani also called for the release of Ali Reza Beheshti, one of Mousavi’s top aides, and significantly the brother-in-law of Ali Akbar Mohtashami Pour, the “godfather of Hezbollah,” and a former defense minister.

Rafsanjani also delivered a letter from one of the most esteemed members of the elite of the Islamic Republic (who does not want his identity revealed), stressing the importance of Beheshti’s release, and the dangerous consequences that would befall the supreme leader if that were not quickly accomplished.

And what might be the “dire” and “dangerous consequences,” you may ask?

I believe that Khamenei fears the public disclosure and documentation of his many criminal acts, ranging from ordering the terrorist attacks in Lebanon against French and American soldiers and marines, to authorizing the killing of Iranian dissidents.  There are many other cases, and, in a country like Iran, proof of Khamenei’s central role is undoubtedly in many hands, as is the proof of the falsification of the June 12th election results, which was just delivered to the Canadians by a certain Saeed, an employee of the Guardian Council who has been granted asylum by Ottawa.

Oh, and yes, Beheshti was released within hours.

The opposition has its strengths, and the regime its weaknesses, as you see…

That's the background.  Now it's time to watch.  Lots of very good people will be live-blogging.  Two of the very best are Banafsheh and Homylafayette.