Iranian parliament votes to cut Ahmadinejad's term short

I won’t even pretend to know what this is about. But it passed overwhelmingly and it looks like it’s going to be rubber-stamped by Rafsanjani, who heads the country’s constitutional committee and who happens to be the guy Ahmadinejad defeated in the last presidential election. If it’s ratified, it’ll push the end of his term up from August 2009 to February 2008, which could affect our own election depending upon who replaces him.

If you believe the opinion polls, he’s about as popular in Iran as Bush is here.

Are the Iranians ready to try a “new approach”? They have nothing to fear from us but a lot to fear from the Saudis; in fact, the Kingdom is so worried about Iran that they’re allegedly preparing for the unthinkable. Without the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to demagogue the mullahs will lose some momentum, so maybe throwing “Mahdi” under the bus is a conciliatory gesture aimed at cooling things off before something crazy happens and peace breaks out somewhere. It’s still good cop/bad cop; it’s just that the bad cop they’ve got now is starting to make everyone nervous. Even, perhaps, Russia.