Don't be fooled - you have about 48 hours until Brittney Spears does something to make us forget you.
Five weeks after Iran’s presidential elections it is now clear that Iran’s ruling elite has split into two factions. The question now is whether Iran’s security forces will split.
Former presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami have now publicly questioned the legitimacy of President Ahmadinejad’s reelection. In doing so, they have questioned the legitimacy of Supreme Ruler Khamenei’s authority (see NYT, Economist). This is a dramatic development and almost guarantees a deep political crisis inside Iran.
The timing and manner of Rafsanjani and Khatami’s falling-out is especially notable. Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had suppressed street protests, thus removing the pressure of a visible short-term crisis in the country. But in spite of that breathing space and after having several weeks to consider their options, Rafsanjani and Khatami still made the fateful decision to publicly oppose the Supreme Ruler and the power of the IRGC. Being experienced insiders, they would only opt for this course if they have high confidence in their odds. And they must also know that other dictum about palace revolts: “If you strike at the king, you must strike to kill.” A compromise political settlement with Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would not likely be a stable outcome.