Ayatolleh Khamenei has already declared that the re-election of President Ahmadinejad last month was legal and legitimate and made clear he would not tolerate any more challenges to that 'victory'. However, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom, the largest grouping of clerics in the country have issued a statement to the contrary. The fact that it is such a sizable group of the clerics that has spoken out is a blow to the Spiritual leader of the country.
In a rebuke to the regime it declared on its website:
"Candidates’ complaints and strong evidence of vote-rigging were ignored . . . Peaceful protests by Iranians were violently oppressed . . . Dozens of Iranians were killed and hundreds were illegally arrested . . . The outcome is invalid."
It called on other clerics to speak out, demanded the release of all those arrested in the past three weeks, and directly challenged the authority of the Guardian Council, a body of 12 senior clerics that has openly backed Mr Ahmadinejad and his patron, Mr Khamenei. "How can one accept the legitimacy of the election just because the Guardian Council says so?", they asked.
The top end of the regime is losing the battle to maintain the charade of a fair election. Khamenei has lost the backing of those he is supposed to lead in the clerical realm. The people know that there is an issue with their own votes. The top tier of leadership in Iran is all that is holding Ahmadinejad in power, Iran and the rest of the world realises that.
Houssein Mousavi, along with former Presidents Mohammed Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and fellow 'defeated' candidate Medhi Karoubi and now the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom there is a new political front former. A new movement that is going to carry on the challenge of Government legitimacy.
One analyst said:
"The fact that anyone dares to condemn the election when people were calling for Mousavi and Karoubi’s heads is remarkable. It shows there is depth to Mousavi’s support. They have not been bullied into silence, there are factions forming and this is not over."
The people need to keep calling for their vote to count, their voice to be heard, their preferred leader to the President. The world is watching, waiting for Ahmadinejad to realise what is the right thing.