There are very interesting things that are taking place right now. Some of my sources in Iran have told me that Ayatollah Rafsanjani, who is the head of the Assembly of Experts -- the eighty-six member clerical body that decides who will be the next Supreme Leader, and is, by the way, the only group that is empowered to remove the Supreme Leader from power -- that they have issued an emergency meeting in Qom.i (kind of) disagree with the idea that "the very legitimacy, the very foundation of the Islamic Republic is up in the air right now." i think this meeting is probably the opposite. khamenei was never on solid footing with the rest of the clerical elite and so rafasanjani is using the unrest over the elections to try to unseat khamenei. that is all happening within the normal framework of the islamic republic constitution. to remove khamenei would be an unusual unprecedented step, but it would be a step well within the governing structure of the iranian system. just as the threatened impeachment and resignation of richard nixon, while unprecedented, did not represent the end of the u.s. constitutional order, if the assembly of experts removes khamenei it doesn't mean the end of the islamic republic. on the contrary, it may be the system's best hope in preserving itself.
Now, Anderson, I have to tell you, there's only one reason for the Assembly of Experts to meet at this point, and that is to actually talk about what to do about Khamenei. So, this is what I'm saying, is that we're talking about the very legitimacy, the very foundation of the Islamic Republic is up in the air right now. It's hard to say what this is going to go.
this may also be related to grand ayatollah hossein ali montazeri condemnation of the election results yesterday. booman has a good post explaining where montazeri fits into all of this.