The reform movement in Iran has clearly hit a new level, but the future is uncertain. The key issue is whether spontaneous protests crystallize into sustained dissent that involves the middle class. There are no cracks yet in the Iranian government’s domestic security forces — a common criterion for successful, bottom-up challenges to totalitarian regimes. But the Obama administration can take steps right now and in the months ahead to open a “second channel” to Iran — this one to its people directly — and improve the chances of real change.
The election held last Friday was a carefully controlled process that allowed only candidates approved by religious authorities to seek office. Nonetheless, it seems clear that many and likely most Iranians cast votes for challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi and against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Tags: domestic security forces, Iranian government