The seeming quiet in Tehran’s street deceives us into believing the uprising has been crushed. Yes, Ahmadinejad has been sworn in as President of the Islamic Republic for a second term, squelching the most obvious near-term goal of the opposition. But his inauguration was marked by both public snubs – in the form of many Majlis deputies and Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s absence – and by demonstrations in the street.
The show trial of dissidents arrested during the unrest following the June 12 election has proven to be a debacle. Accusations of rape have given way to heated rhetoric flying between supporters of the regime and the opposition: Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami (not to be confused with former President Mohammed Khatami) declared such allegations to be a “total slander against the Islamic system.” Calls for the arrest and trial of Karroubi have resumed.
On the other hand, Reformist politicians sent a letter to the Assembly of Experts demanding that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, be investigated. The Assembly of Experts is the Iranian body that appoints the Supreme Leader – in theory, it also has the power to remove him, though this has never been tested. Ayatollah Rafsanjani is the head of the Assembly of Experts.