Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friday's Prayers

Underscoring the fissures in Iran's leadership, Ahmadinejad will be absent from Friday's prayers, which are to be delivered by Ayatollah Rafsanjani. It had earlier been reported that Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami will be attending those prayers. NIAC reported, via Ghalam, that Mousavi issued a statement saying he is obligated to protect people's rights and will be among them during Friday's prayer session.

Instead of attending Friday prayers, Ahmadinejad has elected to take his entire cabinent to the holy city of Mashhad. Mashhad itself has not been free of protests in the wake of the June 12 election.

Rumors abound that the Opposition intends to use Friday's prayer session as a pretext for gathering en masse and pressuring the regime from the streets once again. The use of religious devotion and milestones as an umbrella and pretext for gathering is not unexpected. The Opposition made use of this tactic last week and is likely to continue using it as the uprising persists - just as was done in the 1979 Revolution.

UPDATE: Joe Klein's take on Rafsanjani delivering Friday prayers: here.

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