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article imageConfusion Reigns in Iran as Authorities Warn Mousavi Again

By Chris Dade     Jun 20, 2009 in World
Following the warning issued yesterday by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that protests against the results of the recent Presidential election must stop, new rallies today in support of defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi may still go ahead.
Establishing the full facts about events in the country is difficult enough because of the restrictions being placed on the foreign media by the Iranian authorities but what news is filtering through does seem to suggest that even the authorities themselves have little idea of what might happen next.
Despite reports on Iranian state-run media that two major opposition rallies planned for today have been canceled, both Zahra Rahnavard, the wife of the main opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and another source who is close to Mehdi Karroubi, another candidate for the presidency, insist that at least one of the rallies would still take place. The source close to Mr Karroubi also confirmed that Mohammad Khatami, himself a former President and a possible reformist candidate this time around, would be accompanying Mr Mousavi to the rally.
All this is in spite of the explicit warnings issued by various members of the Iranian security apparatus, and of course the words spoken by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as to the consequences of any further protests against the results of the recent election.
Ahmad Reza Radan, chief of police in the Iranian capital Tehran and a strict enforcer of what he considers to be acceptable forms of Islamic appearance and attire, was quoted by CBS News as telling protesters that if they take to the streets once more:their leaders will be arrested.
A further statement from the Interior Ministry in Iran directed it's own warning at Mr Mousavi, saying that he personally would:be held responsible for the consequences of any illegal gatherings
The truth of the matter now is that Mr Mousavi may not be able to stop the protesters even if he wished to, as the momentum for challenging the election results and indeed the whole structure of power in Iran appears to be gathering pace.
However, if the promised crackdown on the protests by the authorities, or their proxies, proves to be especially harsh, many of those who dispute the the reelection of President Ahmadinejad may then decide that the threat to life is not a price worth paying for their continuing campaign. Indeed the BBC reports that Mr Karroubi and Mohsen Rezai, the two minor candidates in the election, failed to attend a meeting today of the Guardian Council at which they were due to discuss over six hundred objections to the electoral process they had previously filed in conjunction with Mr Mousavi.
In a more detailed analysis of the whole Iranian power struggle the BBC made reference to another former President and a man who is currently head of the Assembly of Experts, a body which ultimately may even have the authority to remove the Supreme Leader himself from power, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Like Mr Mousavi, Mr Rafsanjani did not attend the rally yesterday at which Mr Khamenei delivered his sermon endorsing Mr Ahmadinejad's election and criticizing what he said was foreign interference in the affairs of his country. Even if the street protests subside, or are violently suppressed, Mr Rafsanjani's influence behind the scenes, particularly his known opposition to Mr Ahmadinejad, may produce deeper and more longer lasting reforms than those which can be achieved by the protesters. Perhaps it is that possibility which both the Supreme Leader and the newly reelected President fear most of all.
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