Whose Coup?

One of the puzzling things about the apparent electoral theft in Iran is that one of the major storylines of the Iranian election had been former president and current bigwig Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had earlier intervened in the campaign against Ahmedenijad. There had long been elements of tension between Ahmadenijad, a younger and more populist guy, and the old-line clerical establishment. Moussavi’s campaign, though reformist in its main thrust, also always clearly had one foot in the establishment and seemed to have some establishment support. Under the circumstances, the election theft looks like an about-face.

Brian Ulrich rounds up some different strands and speculates that what we may be looking at is a military coup that’s at least as much about consolidating the power of the Revolutionary Guards over the economy as it is about the establishment crushing the forces of reform.