Instead of making compromises, the regime has focused its efforts on counter-demonstrations, and indeed managed to mobilize large groups of people in Tehran last week. The government has also announced that it will take even harsher action against the protesters. Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, provocatively called upon the courts to proceed against the protesters "without restraint." One of the representatives of the revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Abbas Vaez-Tabasi, publicly advocated the death penalty, invoking the system of velayat-e faqih, or guardianship of the Islamic jurists, which forms the core of the Iranian constitution.
The Islamists know that the downfall of Khamenei would spell the end of a corrupt system of patronage from which the conservative elite, many mullahs and, most of all, the large military-industrial complex consisting of the Pasdaran and Basij have profited handsomely for more than 30 years.
Opposition leader Mousavi has announced his willingness to die a martyr's death, and on Friday he delivered a list of demands to the regime. Its key points are the call for new, transparent voting rights, the release of political prisoners, a free press and the approval of peaceful demonstrations. Mousavi did not deign to mention his adversary Ahmadinejad or Ahmadinejad's benefactor Khamenei.
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan