...must surely be raised this week for the hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens who have demonstrated peacefully over the past week in protest against the questionable result of the Iranian election. Whether they have achieved anything in respect of that result is still unclear but there can be no doubt that they have sent an unambiguous message to the senior Muslim clerics who still call the political shots in Iran. That message is probably not primarily about the roughshod tactics employed by President Ahmadinejad within and without Iran; it is also intended to alert the remote Muslim rulers that ordinary citizens -- including women and the young -- expect to be more fully involved in Iran's political life in the future. It is a rejection of Ayatollah Khamenei's condescending advice in his speech on Friday that the faithful should “seek tranquility and peace in their hearts and not pursue disorder and criticism of authority.” Essentially, the demonstrators have made it clear that they should not be taken for granted in future and that they reserve the right to express “criticism of authority” if they think it necessary.

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