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Should Obama talk to Ahmadinejad?

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•Prominent clerical organizations, such as The Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom, which last week issued a statement calling the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad illegitimate, keep registering their discontent.

•Prestigious conservatives, like the speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani; former Speaker Ali-Akbar Nateq-Nouri; and former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati (all advisers and close allies to the supreme leader) continue to criticize Ahmadinejad's handling of the election crisis. The implications are clear: Neither Ahmadinejad's grip on power nor his credibility will be as secure as before. Indeed, some of his existing political base has already abandoned him as a result of his divisive impact on Iranian politics.

Even with four more years of Ahmadinejad, there is a good chance that the regime may feel obliged to offer tactical concessions to the massive "Anyone-but-Ahmadinejad" bloc that rallied to Mr. Mousavi's candidacy. Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader whose legitimacy has been permanently tarnished by the alleged election fraud perpetrated on his watch, may be forced into certain concessions of his own to keep the peace on the streets. This could include a loosening of the vetting process for parliamentary elections, which would allow more reformist candidates to run for office.

On their own, these tweaks will make little difference. However, they may further embolden the elites of the regime who have marshaled against Ahmadinejad, possibly opening the door to dramatic political change over the coming months and years. Demonstrations on the streets of Tehran are a symptom, rather than the cause, of a wider political struggle between different factions of Iran's ruling clerical and governing elites.

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