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On The Situation In Iran

First, a piece by Slavoj Zizek, turned down by the New York Times, which was posted on LBO talk.

Second, an FT article on the power struggle at the top, focusing on the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei:

Man in the News: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Financial Times
By Roula Khalaf
Published: June 26 2009 19:14 | Last updated: June 26 2009 19:14

Not long ago, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was in an enviable position. Manipulating the levers of power from behind the scenes, the 70-year-old turbaned cleric with oversized glasses was credited with every pragmatic decision taken by the Islamic Republic. Iran’s belligerence and extremism, meanwhile, were conveniently laid at the feet of the firebrand president, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad. When the supreme leader spoke, he delivered the last word. No one dared contradict him, or offer an alternative opinion.

But that was before disputes erupted over the presidential election a fortnight ago, before Mr Khamenei declared the controversial vote “a divine victory”, and before he unleashed his forces to repress peaceful opposition. Now his followers are forced to remind Iranians, time and again, that he had spoken “the last word”. The rage of Iran’s protesters has turned against him, with an “I hate Khamenei campaign” launched on Facebook, and cries of Allahu Akbar on rooftops at night, an act of defiance borrowed from the days of the 1979 revolution, designed to tell him that no one is above God.

These days, Mir-Hossein Moussavi, the opposition leader who says the election was stolen from him, issues statements responding to the ayatollah. It is not in the interest of the country, he said this week, for the supreme leader to be “equated” with the president. And no, he had no intention of bowing to the brutal pressure and accepting a rigged election result.

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