The Iranian clerics have much to fear, and not just from foreign threats. Their incompetence and corruption has ruined the economy. Unemployment among young Iranians is about 50 percent. Some 40 percent of the population is on the government payroll, and there is not enough oil money to pay off all the people who do support the government (about a third of the population). Thus the government keeps printing more money, and the result in an inflation rate of over 20 percent. The Iranian people are getting increasingly restless, and, more ominously, surly. The government has relied on street level gangs of young Islamic conservatives to discourage such behavior. But it isn't working, and there have been more and more street battles. The government can more readily call in reinforcements, and has won all these brawls so far. But if the government starts losing them, it's the beginning of the end. Some of the kids have cell phones, a technology the government tried to keep out.Source
...The clerics fear an event similar to the one that suddenly destroyed communist rule in Russia and Eastern Europe 18 years ago. For that reason, much attention and cash is spent on the street level muscle (the Basij militia), and a constant willingness to use physical violence against any protests or "un-Islamic" behavior. The universities are being purged of any staff suspected of being disloyal to the clergy. Any contacts with foreigners are being discouraged, as the Iranians fear U.S. groups that go around giving workshops on how to overthrow a dictatorship using non-violent means. Such workshops are held for Iranians across the Gulf, and many Iranians sneak over to participate.
Iran is a hellish bastion of religious barbarism. How curious then, that so many leftist academics, journalists, and bloggers flock to the banner of Iran's theocratic tyranny.