Yesterday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for his second term as President of Iran before the Majlis. Most of the 70 Reformist Deputies boycotted the ceremony, as Ayatollah Rafsanjani was notably absent from Ahmadinejad’s certification ceremony earlier in the week.
The obvious near-term goal for the opposition in the wake of the June 12 election was preventing Ahmadinejad from becoming the President of Iran for a second time. Time has clearly left that goal behind. But that does not mean the opposition is defunct nor does it remove the opposition’s raison d’etre.
The conflict between the regime and the opposition remains one for the mantle of the 1979 Revolution. Was that a revolution for Republic or Theocracy? Despite the swearing in, Ahmadinejad’s government remains illegitimate. The opposition’s lifeblood is the cleavage between the people of Iran’s view of its system of government and the regime’s view of that government. Khameini has adopted a near caeseropapist idea of governance. Ahmadinejad, I think, is tacking towards an autocracy. The people, however, believe in Republic – Islamic or otherwise.