[DEHAI] Iran: Increasing Post-Election Tensions (Update)

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From: Tsegai Emmanuel (emmanuelt40@gmail.com)
Date: Wed Jun 17 2009 - 16:34:11 EDT

Iran: Increasing Post-Election Tensions (Update) Stratfor Today
»<http://www.stratfor.com/analysis>June 17, 2009 | 1552 GMT
  [image: Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate
Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate June 16]
Getty Images
Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein
Mousavi demonstrate on June 16
 Related Special Topic Page

   - The Iranian Presidential

Another large demonstration is scheduled to occur in Tehran June 17. This is
the fifth straight day of protests since Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s victory in the country’s presidential elections. The
president’s main challenger, former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi is
calling for a new vote and has urged his supporters to keep the protests
peaceful. Meanwhile, there are reports that authorities have continued to
clamp down on key reformist leaders, international media groups, and
Web-based communications — although information continues to flow and is
often sensational.

It is difficult to gauge accurately the level of unrest because of state
interdiction efforts and the unreliability of the information that is
disseminated by informal media channels. Nonetheless, STRATFOR will be
trying to assess whether or not the demonstrations are growing in size and
how far they have spread across the country. These are two key factors that
will determine the sustainability and potency of the uprising and thus the
stability of the regime.

It should be noted that the second most powerful cleric, Ali Akbar Hashmi
Rafsanjani (Ahmadinejad’s main adversary within the government), has not
issued a public statement since the election results were announced. This
suggests that Rafsanjani and his allies are continuing their efforts behind
the scenes to pressure Khamenei to move against the president. Judiciary
Chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi and Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani are
also working publicly and behind the scenes in this regard. While former
Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) leader Mohsen Rezaie claimed that
he has proof that his votes were tampered with, no substantial evidence of
fraud in the voting or counting process has been leaked. It is unlikely that
the Guardians Council will be forced to rule against the results.

This situation could explain what is happening on the international scene,
where there are signs that the United States and its allies are concluding
that Ahmadinejad will end up with a second-term and are publicly adjusting
their posture accordingly. U.S. President Barack Obama told CNBC June 16
that, “The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their
actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way we
are going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been
hostile to the United States.”

Likewise, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that there is not
much to be expected from Mousavi. Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the
Knesset that if Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious
problem trying to make a case to the world about the threat from Iran,
because the international community views Mousavi as a moderate. Dagan also
predicted that the unrest would die down in the coming days. It is difficult
to determine if that will actually happen due to unclear reports coming from
the country. The key issues to watch will be the growth and spread of the
protests (or the lack thereof) and what is happening within the halls of
power as rival conservative factions battle for control.

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