Khamenei's authority crippled

“After congratulating the nation for having a sacred victory, to say now that there is a possibility that it was rigged is a big step backward for him,” said Abbas Milani, the director of Stanford University’s Iranian studies program…

Still, lacking a political base of his own, he set about creating one in the military. It was the end of the Iran-Iraq war, and many senior officers returning from the front demanded a role in politics or the economy for their sacrifices. Ayatollah Khamenei became a source of patronage for them, giving them important posts in broadcasting or as leaders of the vast foundations that had confiscated much of the pre-revolution private sector…

Everyone speaking of Ayatollah Khamenei tends to use the word “cautious,” a man who never gambles. But he now faces a nearly impossible choice. If he lets the demonstrations swell, it could well change the system of clerical rule. If he uses violence to stamp them out, the myth of a popular mandate for the Islamic revolution will die.