4 Possible Outcomes for Iran

Could we see a new revolution—or the next Tiananmen?
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 18, 2009 10:07 AM CDT
In this image issued by the government run Fars News Agency, supporters of pro-reform leader Mir Hossein Mousavi attend a rally in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday June, 17, 2009.    (AP Photo/Fars news agency)
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(Newser) – Iran’s election aftermath seems to have come as a surprise to its key figures. With protesters showing no sign of relenting, Tony Karon of Time offers four possible conclusions:

  • A repeat of the 1979 revolution. But that’s unlikely, because “an unarmed popular movement can only topple an authoritarian regime if the security forces switch sides or stay neutral”—not the case here.

  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s language may suggest violent retaliation, but a “Tehran Tiananmen” would “risk reducing a regime built on clerical authority and ‘managed’ democracy to a tyranny.”
  • A runoff is a possibility, but because supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei is such a close Ahmadinejad ally, he “may be more likely to seek a compromise that keeps the incumbent in place.”
  • Perhaps the most likely option is “a 'Zimbabwe' option,” or power-sharing deal: keeping Ahmadinejad at the helm and "bludgeoning the opposition into settling for an important, yet subordinate role in his government.”

(Read more Iran stories.)