What if a ranting lunatic threw a victory party and no one came?  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got snubbed by at least 180 members of the Iranian parliament when they no-showed the newly re(s)elected President’s fab-oo celebration.  The insult sent a message to Ahmadinejad and the mullahs that love him:

More than 180 Iranian MPs appear to have snubbed an invitation to celebrate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election win, local press reports say.

All 290 MPs were invited to the victory party on Wednesday night, but only 105 turned up, the reports say.

A BBC correspondent says the move is a sign of the deep split at the top of Iran after disputed presidential polls.

That certainly implies that Ahmadinejad — and the mullahs — have lost the majority of the mullah-approved ruling class.  Remember that the Guardian Council approves candidates not just for president but also for Parliament.  Every MP owes his position in part to the same mullahcracy that rigged the election for Ahmadinejad.  Defying the mullahs and mocking Ahmadinejad puts their own positions at risk — unless they figure that the momentum has already swung away from Ahmadinejad and the Guardian Council.  It’s certainly a vote of no-confidence.

So what does a ranting lunatic figurehead do when his legitimacy is threatened?  Call someone else “Bush” (via Allahpundit’s Twitter feed):

[Ahmadinejad] advised Mr Obama to take a different approach from his predecessor President George W Bush.

“I hope you (Obama) will avoid interfering in Iran’s affairs and express regret in a way that the Iranian people are informed of it,” Mr Ahmadinejad said.

“Will you use this language with Iran (in any future dialogue)? If this is your stance, there will be nothing left to talk about. Do you think this behaviour will solve the problem for you? This will not have any result except that the people will consider you somebody similar to Bush.”

The Guardian has done a good job each day keeping up with the latest developments in Iran.  Today’s omnibus post reports that Mirhossein Mousavi has become even more defiant:

“I am ready to show how the electoral wrong-doers, standing beside the main agitators that have caused the present disturbances, have spilled people’s blood. I would not, for the sake of personal expediency and fear in the face of threats, withdraw for one moment my demands for the return of the rights of the Iranian people, whose blood is being unjustly spilled today.”

He added: “(The people’s) problem is with millions of votes whose fate is unknown.”

Calling for people to keep calm while resisting, he goes on: “It is a must for us to neutralise this evil conspiracy through our behaviour and expressions.”

Mehdi Karroubi has called off a rally he planned for today, but the Guardian reports that others will take place today.

Update: Via Instapundit, the LA Times reports that the regime has begun rounding up academics:

Iran’s leading opposition figure, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, launched a lengthy broadside against the Iranian leadership and state-owned media in comments published today on his website as authorities arrested 70 university professors who had just held a meeting with Mousavi. …

Hundreds have been arrested for allegedly taking part or inciting disturbances, including 70 members of the Islamic Society of University Professors, who were arrested after they met with Mousavi on Wednesday afternoon. Their whereabouts are unknown, according to Kalameh.ir, Mousavi’s website.

For a regime that prefaces itself on an academic reading of Islam, that’s not a good sign.  If they’ve lost the academics, and perhaps even the mullahs, then force is the only legitimacy they have left — and that won’t last long.