Mousavi's Options Dwindle as Time Ticks Away

Beaten on the streets, reformer takes uphill battle to the elite
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2009 9:51 AM CDT
An Iranian woman in front of hundreds of thousands of supporters of leading opposition presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi who turned out to protest, Monday, June 15, 2009.    (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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(Newser) – The Iranian protest movement is running out of time and options as the regime continues its brutal crackdown, Time reports. Government forces have full control of the streets of Tehran, hundreds of political opponents are in jail, and Western journalists have been packed off. Mir Hossein Mousavi now has no choice but to take his battle into the Iranian establishment, but even there his hopes for a new election look unlikely.

Many politicians who supported Mousavi have been arrested, despite their revolutionary credentials. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Mousavi's most powerful backer, has not mounted any challenge. The impotence of Mousavi's political supporters underscores a major transformation in the Iranian system: Once governed by a large theocratic elite, Iran is now controlled by a tiny cadre backed by the army and security services—and its power is unrivaled.