Iran Post Election Protests
Iran held elections Friday. Incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner by an almost 2 to 1 margin. Supporters of challenger Mirhossein Mousavi claimed massive vote fraud and are protesting in the streets of the capitol, Tehran. Riot police reacted by beating demonstrators and there reports Mousavi was arrested. Dozens of people were hurt in fighting with police after protests broke out following the announcement of Ahmadinejad's victory in the Friday voting. Mousavi protested electoral law violations and vote-rigging during the election.
The police chief said the police force would strongly react to any gathering held without permission.Police increased security in the capital to prevent trouble. Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asked losing candidates and their supporters to avoid causing trouble and to support Ahmadinejad. So far protests are not occurring in other major cities. If protests are limited to Tehran they will not lead to the removal of Ahmadinejad. If Mousavi supporters can not hold demonstrations all across Iran nothing will change. Ahmadinejad , supported by Khamenei, will disperse the protesters in Tehran in a few days, arrest the leaders, and complete his second term.
If major protests break out in other major cities the police and Revolutionary Guard will have difficulty stopping all of them.
Ahmadinejad has more support in the the countryside and cities outside Tehran. Unless the protest become nationwide there will be no change in Iran.
One thing to remember is that in Iran the president is not the number one leader. The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military, security, sole power to declare war and appoints leaders of the judiciary, radio and television networks, the commanders of police and military forces. He, along with the Council of Guardians and the Assembly of Experts can overrule the president and parliament making the president third in power.The Supreme Leader has the final say in all matters.
In 1979 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led a movement that overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and replaced it with the current Islamic republic. It is extremely unlikely that the current unrest will lead to a change in the of type of government but then no one thought the Shah could be overthrown.