Iran’s Assembly of Experts is calling an emergency meeting–they’re the only people in Iran who can replace Supreme Leader Khamenei–and speculation is that they’ll either to replace Khamenei entirely or force him to drop his support for Ahmadinejad.
According to Iran expert Reza Aslan:
Some of my sources in Iran have told me that Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who is the head of the Assembly of Experts — the eighty-six member clerical body that decides who will be the next Supreme Leader, and is, by the way, the only group that is empowered to remove the Supreme Leader from power — that they have issued an emergency meeting in Qom.
There’s only one reason for the Assembly of Experts to meet at this point, and that is to actually talk about what to do about Khamenei. So, this is what I’m saying, is that we’re talking about the very legitimacy, the very foundation of the Islamic Republic is up in the air right now. It’s hard to say what this is going to go.
Possibly in response to the writing on the walls, Khamenei is now getting more involved in trying to end the standoff:
Ayatollah Khamenei has not appeared in public since the election results, but now seems to be deeply involved in the search for a solution to the stand-off.
Meeting representatives of the four election candidates, he urged all parties not to agitate their supporters and stir up an already tense situation. He also repeated his offer of a partial vote recount, a proposal already rejected by the main opposition.
“In the elections, voters had different tendencies, but they equally believe in the ruling system and support the Islamic Republic,” the Associated Press reported him as saying.
“Nobody should take any action that would create tension, and all have to explicitly say they are against tension and riots.”
Here’s video of a massive rally in Ishafan on Monday:
And here is footage of fighting in the streets; gunfire can be heard in the background:
UPDATE: It should be noted that, yesterday, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri condemned the election results:
“No one in their right mind can believe” the official results from Friday’s contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Montazeri accused the regime of handling Mousavi’s charges of fraud and the massive protests of his backers “in the worst way possible.”
“A government not respecting people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy,” he declared in comments on his official Web site. “I ask the police and army personals (personnel) not to ‘sell their religion,’ and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God.”
What’s interesting here that Montazeri was once designated as the successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, but was ousted because of his criticism of the government’s human rights abuses.
His name is also being circulated as someone that the opposition would like to replace the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
UPDATE II: A picture of this incident has been making the rounds, but here is a video of a man who was allegedly shot in the head by a pro-Ahmadinejad militia. Obviously, this is quite graphic:
UPDATE III: Here’s an excerpt from a fantastic piece written by an Iranian born in 1984 during the Iran-Iraq war:
My generation is tired of being disillusioned. We refuse to accept the status quo and we have risen up in defiance. I am not sure how long it will take for the totalitarians to crush our resistance. For now though, we’re holding up just fine. We’re holding up fine even though our brothers at Basij and the police are murdering their dear fellow Iranians. We’re holding up even though you bash us with clubs and batons and try to suffocate us with your tear gas.
A nation stands tall refusing to succumb that easily.
UPDATE IV: Here, in full, is the cyberwar guide for the Iranian elections:
The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through Twitter.
1. Do NOT publicise proxy IP’s over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag. Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran. If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.
2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.
3. Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don’t retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.
4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.
5. Don’t blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don’t publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don’t signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind…
UPDATE V: More pictures from HuffPo: