US Begins to Think Iran Protesters Have a Chance
Turns its focus to Revolutionary Guard
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2010 3:19 PM CST
Members of the Iranian Basij militia, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, march in Tehran in November.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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(Newser) – The US appears to be coming around to the notion that Iran's protesters pose a genuine threat to the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and are looking for new ways to support the opposition. This latest round of unrest in particular has Obama officials reaching out to Iran scholars to gauge the chances of a coup and writing economic sanctions that go after the sprawling business interests of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Washington Post also weighs in with a story about the Guard, noting that the group's vast political and economic power could actually complicate US efforts to punish the government. The Guard's private-sector arm controls so much business in the country—Tehran's airport, highway construction, weapons manufacturing, etc.—that any sanctions that go after it will hurt the general populace as well.