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Iranian President: Noisy.... but not so strong

The news out of Iran is far from encouraging. Protests yes, repressive action to curb any challenges to the regime. There is unrest amongst the populace. And then there is that ever-looming deadline about Iran's nuclear efforts and plans.

The Washington Post reports on how whilst the Iranian President might be loud and forthright that he may not be that strong as he thinks:

"Mahmous Ahmadinejad of Iran says that the government over which he presides is "ten times" stronger than it was a year ago. Therefore, Mr. Ahmadinejad announced Tuesday, the Islamic Republic will defy the Obama administration's year-end deadline for accepting a U.N.-drafted proposal to trade Iran's enriched uranium stockpile for less dangerous nuclear fuel. Iran is "not afraid" of the sanctions that the United States and its allies may have in store, Mr. Ahmadinejad boasted, adding: "If Iran wanted to make a bomb, we would be brave enough to tell you."

Yet Mr. Ahmadinejad may protest too much. Judging by one measure of regime strength -- popular support -- the dictatorship of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which Mr. Ahmadinejad serves, is as weak as ever, if not weaker. Mr. Ahmadinejad delivered his outburst after hundreds of thousands of regime opponents filled the city of Qom to mourn the death of Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, a founder of the Islamic Republic who had more recently turned into a dissenter. The huge, nonviolent crowds, and their chants ("Dictator, this is your last message: The people of Iran are rising!"), proved that there is still plenty of life in the popular movement that Mr. Khamenei and his Revolutionary Guards provoked by engineering Mr. Ahmadinejad's fraudulent reelection in June. Given the horrific extent of the repression against that movement, its continued energy is nothing short of inspiring."

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