The Iranian protests are now squarely a citizens’ affair:
Mousavi said he would seek official permission for any future rallies, effectively ending his role in street protests organized by supporters who insist he won the election.
“The problem is we have no one to lead us,” a 30-year-old resident of Isfahan told AP on Saturday on condition of anonymity because he feared government reprisal. “We are waiting for a new message, but Mousavi does not want to continue, because after all he is part of the system.”
This was never about a choice between two leaders: awful and awful with good PR. It was about a choice between two systems of governance: tyrannical and consensual. That’s why Barack Obama’s early declaration of the outcome’s irrelevance was off the mark. Democracy is so potent a force that even the poor counterfeit orchestrated by the mullahs proved too addictive to contain.
With the protests breaking away from the personality of Mousavi and with Mousavi’s getting reabsorbed into the corrupt theocracy, it’s more important than ever that the U.S. make clear its support for Iran’s citizens. We are, after all, aligned with them against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This should now be easier for our president to articulate, as it no longer means endorsing Mousavi by default