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Will Ahmadinejad Fall?

The exhilirating mass protests and shocking acts of public brutality have ended, and so media interest in Iran is down substantially. But the crackdown clearly didn't snuff out the opposition and with every day comes new word that the highest levels of the regime are roiling. Ahmadinejad is under pressure from both reformers and now conservatives angry over some of his recent personnel moves. Barbara Slavin's Washington Times piece today suggests some big events may yet be in store:

Iran's government appears to be imploding even before President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is sworn in for a second term, with three Cabinet ministers dismissed, resigning or on their way out and the opposition vowing to continue protests over disputed presidential elections.

Iran specialists say Mr. Ahmadinejad -- who has alienated some hard-liners as well as reformists in Iran through poor economic management and an adventurist foreign policy -- is badly weakened as he heads into a second term and may not be able to complete another four years in office.

No wonder Mousavi is speaking out more forcefully than ever. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of time to sort things out, as the NYT notes of Robert Gates' trip to Israel:

Mr. Gates, apparently in an attempt to smooth over anxieties, reiterated at the news conference in Jerusalem that President Obama was hopeful that Iran would accept the offer of talks at the time that the United Nations General Assembly convened in late September. Mr. Obama has set a further deadline of the end of the year for Iran to show some progress on the issue. 

The Obama administration says it's heard nothing from Iran since before the June 12 presidential election.

--Michael Crowley