Supreme Leader Sayed Ali Khamenei’s actions to repress his political opponents – especially the “reformers” who merely want to improve the Islamic Republic – show that he profoundly understands the threat the opposition poses to the regime.
“Khamenei appears to finally recognize that the anger on the ground in Iran is genuine, and the Iranian people are truly unhappy with the regime’s economic mismanagement, censorship and dictatorial rule,” Camelia Entekhabi-Fard writes in the Huffington Post.
“What would happen if Iranians decide to stand up to the government’s loyal militia and plain clothes agents who are paid to protect the regime?” she asks. “Iran’s supreme leader knows well that any movement for political change, such as the ‘Green’ movement, needs organization and leadership to succeed. Physically removing Karroubi, Mousavi and their wives, despite the fact that they were already politically weak, isolated and under house arrest, shows the leader has finally admitted that the opposition movement inside Iran is a real and legitimate one.”
But does the movement really need a titular head like Mousavi or Karroubi in an age of computerized social networks? Without the Green Movement leaders’ presence, the crowds became more radical, calling not for reforms but demanding the overthrow of Khamenei and his entire regime.
“The detentions, which could not have taken place without the specific authorization of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, are a sign that movements for democracy and political change spreading through much of the Arab world have finally begun to worry Iran’s supreme leader,” Entekhabi-Fard notes.
Now that the regime truly appreciates the seriousness and strength of the opposition, pro-democracy activists are wondering when the Western world will do the same and act accordingly.