Notwithstanding its creaky, conservative regime, dissenting voices in Iran can be both loud and articulate. Ahmadinejad's armour has been his level of popular support, but if that truly is beginning to crack, his power might well be checked.* An attack by an outside power will quickly quiet the sounds of dissent. Therefore, if this report is on-track then the best strategy to mitigate Iranian behavior is one founded on patience not haste.
Iran's discontent with Ahmadinejad grows: "Some 150 lawmakers signed a letter last week calling on Ahmadinejad's government to reconsider its draft budget for next year. Lawmakers called the draft too dependent on oil revenues. Iran roughly makes about 80 percent of its revenues from oil exports.
Even the president's globe-trotting has come under fire. He has made several trips to Asia and Africa, burnishing his reputation as a world leader who can stand up to the United States. This week, he was in Latin America, meeting presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and other anti-U.S. figures.
'Do you really assume people like Chavez (and) Ortega ... can be Iran's strategic allies?' the reformist daily Etemad-e-Melli said in an editorial Tuesday addressing Ahmadinejad. 'We should not build a house on water.'"
*This piece runs in the NYT January 19, 2007 and lends confirmation to the point made here.