No, Tehran is not yet about to fall to the dissidents. But the dissidents are also not about to crumble before the regime.

Talent has long ago deserted the mullahs, as the great writers and film-makers deserted the commissars.

And, now, the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, once the seed of the new wave in Iranian cinema and by now nearing 70, creator of The Wind Will Carry Us and many more gorgeous and subtly subversive films, have joined the protest.

So it's not just Kiarostami but playwrights, actors, directors, artists who have become dissidents. Public dissidents, no less. This is all treated in a dispatch by Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Saturday's Financial Times.

What we need to know is where the Obama administration stands.