Mousavi's Options Shrink as Crackdown Hardens
Battle for Iran moves from the streets to corridors of power
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2009 5:45 AM CDT
Mir Hossein Mousavi, left, is supported by Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the cleric-run Assembly of Experts.   (AP Photos/File)
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(Newser) – Two weeks after Iran's allegedly rigged presidential election, the regime's clampdown has hardened and left opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei with few avenues for protest. The New York Times reports that shouts of "God is great" and "Death to the dictator" continue to echo at night in Tehran, but open defiance in the streets has waned. Many analysts now think Mir Hossein Mousavi will have to turn to the establishment, rather than the streets, to win power.

Moussavi, whose surge in popularity was largely based on opposition to Ahmadinejad, lacks an organization to channel it, the Times notes. In the coming days divisions within the political elite, many of whom are angry with Ahmadinejad, may become critical. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Mousavi-supporting cleric who leads the Assembly of Experts, has still made no public statement, leading some to speculate that he may yet mount a behind-the-scenes challenge to the ruling powers.