M K Bhadrakumar gets right to the heart of the matter, in the most insightful article we have yet to see on post-election developments in Iran. The protesting masses are primarily the city-dwelling middle classes, and their foes – Khomeini’s base – rural traditionalists and the urban downtrodden looking to President Ahmadinejad for salvation from poverty and corruption.

In one fell swoop, Supreme Leader Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have drawn out and marginalized the “Western-leaning” reformists – Khatami, Mousavi, Rafsanjani and Co – and will allow their protesting supporters to run out of steam with sporadic and relatively effortless intervention. The Reformists have, in essence, handed over their heads on a golden platter, and now the hardliners can oust them outright from the corridors of government and recast themselves as the original pious Khomeini revolutionaries, which should please their base tremendously.

Obama seems to have sussed the way of things early, and refrained from being drawn into the fray even while capitals around the world erupted in dismay at the unfolding events on the streets of Tehran and other major cities. Elections are apparently meant to be taken with a pinch of salt, and then life goes on. Question is, when will the protesting masses realize there is no rainbow at the end of this tunnel, and reign in their energies before they suffer further losses for leaders who have already this week seen the writing on the wall?

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