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IRAN: Analysts expect supreme leader to play for time

June 18, 2009 | 10:42 pm

Iranian analysts based in the United States advised not expecting too much from a highly anticipated address during Friday prayers from the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Ali Assareh, a Middle East politics expert based at UC Berkeley, said he expects Khamenei to play for more time, hoping that protests against the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will die down.

"Khamenei is going to say exactly what he has been saying every day, that even people who voted for (presidential challenger Mir-Hossein) Mousavi, voted for the Islamic Republic, and we’re all united,” said Assareh, who had hoped that change could be achieved through last week's election. 

“And in between the lines, he’s going to endorse Ahmadinejad again. I think every day that goes by, the chances for the protesters goes down, and the chances for the regime go up.... How long can hundreds of thousands of people go out on the streets every day?"

Homa Ehsan, a political analyst on the Southern California-based Persian-language Aria International Television station, said Khamenei would repeat that he has heard the concerns of Mousavi supporters and will review allegations of irregularities.

"Then he has time to play the game," said Ehsan, who argues that any poll conducted by the country's  rulers is a sham. "If he says no, this it is, and this is good for Islam, there will be bloodshed."

-- Tami Abdollah in Los Angeles

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