No way out

It was not clear whether Iran’s government, made up of fractious power centers, was pursuing a calculated strategy or if the moves reflected internal disagreements, or even uncertainty.

“Most analysts believe the outreach is just to kill time and extend this while they search for a solution, although there doesn’t seem to be any,” said a political analyst in Tehran, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “This will only be a postponement of the inevitable, which is indeed a brutal crackdown.”…

There was some speculation among Iran experts in the United States of a possible compromise, with reformers being given positions in a new government. But it was unclear if that would be acceptable to the opposition, which understands that in Iran, positions do not necessarily come with power. For eight years, the reform president, Mohammad Khatami, saw his program stifled by the conservative interests of the religious leadership and its allies…

“We don’t have a consensus on who we are,” said a political scientist with close ties to Iran’s leadership. “Here we have ideology and ways of thinking that have nothing in common.”

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