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June 22, 2009

Confirmed? General Strike in Iran Called for Tomorrow?
Claim: Anonymous Sources Say Rafsanjani, Other Clerics Eye Replacing Supreme Leader Khameini With Governing Council?

Via Twitter.

They've been discussing this possibility on FoxNews. One pundit stated that general strikes were critical to the success of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and that such a strike would definitely have an impact. Particularly if those working in the oil sector join the strike.

The Revolutionary Guard is threatening to crush further demonstrations, meanwhile.

Anyone who doesn't show up for work is fired, the regime barks.

And an unconfirmed tidbit:

According to unconfirmed reports in Balatarin [Farsi] , Gen. Ali Fazli, the head of revolutionary guards in Tehran, has been arrested after refusing to execute Khamenei’s order of using force against demonstrators in Tehran. He is a war veteran who lost an eye during the Iran-Iraq war.

The turning point in an uprising comes when many the regime relies upon begin fence-sitting, waiting for a victor to emerge. This particular report may not be true, and other similar reports may not be true, but, assuming some of them are true, it looks like more and more power-players are deciding it's unclear who will prevail in this. Which is deadly for the regime, of course, because 80% of their power derives from the belief that they are powerful and are in a position to punish those who defy them.

The Last Piece of the Puzzle? ParanoidGirlInSeattle wrote in the comments earlier that Iranian friends of hers doubted this counter-revolution would succeed, because general protests, especially when made up mostly of students, don't change anything. The situation would turn serious, she said (based on her friends' understanding) when businesses and workers took up the cause.

She now writes:

And I've posted this two or three times in various comments threads about Iran as a woman I know from Iran told me last week this is what was needed, the support of the business owners and the infrastructure people (transportation, garbage etc.), it's how what is going on now continues to gain momentum there. It's their real hope for change at this point.

Full-On Coup? A huge rumor picked up by Patterico, found in Al Arabiya.

Religious leaders are considering an alternative to the supreme leader structure after at least 13 people were killed in the latest unrest to shake Tehran and family members of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were arrested amid calls by former President Mohammad Khatami for the release of all protesters.

Iran's religious clerics in Qom and members of the Assembly of Experts, headed by Ayatollah Rafsanjani, are mulling the formation of an alternative collective leadership to replace that of the supreme leader, sources in Qom told Al Arabiya on condition of anonymity.

It gets even more interesting. Al-Sistani of Iraq is said to have had a representative present at the meeting where this was discussed. I'll leave that quote at Patterico, which explains why al-Sistani might be invited.

Yes, Al-Sistani. The guy who has frustrated us by seeming to be on the side of the good guys a lot of the time in Iraq, and yet would not put himself too much out on a ledge for them. (I think he constantly vetoed any plan to outlaw al-Sadr, for example, but my memory is fuzzy.)

It would be interesting -- and politically useful to supporters of the war in Iraq -- if Bush's noble and bloody experiment in Iraq turns out to contain the chickens which will go home to roost in Iran.

That was always pretty much Bush's real plan in Iraq -- not just that we'd win a war in a single country, but that a successful, prosperous, free Iraq would have positive spillover effects throughout the Muslim world.

Obviously I'm getting far ahead of the information here, so I'll stop.

Thanks to someone.

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