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Why Iran's Greens Failed

Con Coughlin reflects on the revolution that wasn't:

As I point out in my column today, at least five thousand people have been arrested and hundreds more have lost their lives as a result of their support for the Green Movement. But they have failed in their attempt to effect a change in the way that the country is governed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country’s hard-line president.

This is because – in my view, at least – the leaders of the Green Movement never had any real intention of campaigning for the kind of changes those who took to the streets last year were demanding. Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Green Movement’s leader, may claim to be a reformer, but he is at heart a die-hard supporter of the Iran’s Islamic Revolution. The only change he really wanted to see was to see himself appointed president at the expense of Mr Ahmadinejad. But he never had any intention of seeking to overthrow the Islamic fundamentalist regime that was established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following the 1979 revolution.

So let's rewind the tape and imagine that President Obama waved the magic wand he was presumed to have and helped the Green movement install Mousavi as president. Would that Iran be fundamentally different than a one in which the president is Ahmadinejad - especially when it comes to the contentious issues of Iran's policy? If Mousavi became president with the architecture of the Islamic Republic still basically in tact, would we have seen a major geopolitical shift?