Future Perfect

The clerical establishment has become so sick of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that they will not replace him when he dies.

By Geneive Abdo | Newsweek Web Exclusive

Iranian reformists and liberals worldwide can be forgiven for thinking that the election and crackdown last summer strengthened the hardliners. In the short term, they’re right: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still president and his opposition has gone to ground. In the long run, though, they may have already won the battle: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is likely to be the last all-powerful Supreme Leader of the Islamic republic, even if the theocratic system manages to survive this tumult.

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