Things may be heating up in Iran. It's always hard to tell from possibly sensationalized news reports what's really going on and how much support it has throughout the country. The classic example of that is the Tien an Men Square demo in China in 1989 (was it really that long ago??), which seemed to be so overwhelming but was not supported by enough of the real people to make much of a difference. It mainly served to identify the troublemakers. Every one else was concerned about his rice bowl. I thought, however, that this last bit was especially telling:
This week's demonstrators have also called for the resignation of President Khatami, accusing him of not pushing hard enough for democratic reforms.
Khatami does not have the support of the hard-liners who control the judiciary, the security forces and other unelected bodies. But the hard-liners do not enjoy popular support, leaving the two sides of government in a stalemate.
At least the students aren't appealing to Khatami and attacking only the mullahs. They know that those who promise "democratic reforms" for years and never deliver are not their friends. Khatami is either insincere or ineffective. Either way he needs to go so the mullahs will be exposed. And now every one knows it. Controlling the security forces wasn't, in the end, enough to keep the Shah in power. And the mullahs know that, too.
La lutte continue. The "worst street demonstrations since the 1979 revolution" should really be "the best demonstrations since well before the 1979 revolution." Since before Mossadegh, one hopes. And that's the real question. Say the students conquer, what kind of regime will they install? What is their vision, their ideal? The Statue of Liberty? Or something more subtle, unexpected - Bob Dylan, perhaps???