by Peter Symonds
22 June 2009
The protests in Tehran over the weekend have served to highlight the limited social base of the political opponents of the dominant faction of the Iranian clerical regime. The opposition movement has not only failed to draw in broader layers of working people, but has markedly weakened.
From the outset, the color-coded campaign to replace incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Mir Hossein Mousavi has been a highly orchestrated political operation backed by the US and managed by dissident elements of the ruling elite—in particular, former president and billionaire businessman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani—for their own ends.
There is nothing progressive in their aims. Insofar as they have differences with their erstwhile associates, Mousavi and his supporters are seeking to shift policies further to the right through a more rapid accommodation with the US and a drastic acceleration of the program of market reform. They make no appeal to working people, for whom such a program can only mean economic devastation, and base themselves on sections of the bourgeoisie and more privileged and frankly selfish layers of the urban middle classes.