Iran's revolutionary regime has ended Friday night.
Or at least it has taken the irreversible first step to self-destruction.
The interior ministry declared an implausible vote percentage for the incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Tehranis voted overhwhelmingly in favor of thr reformist candidate Mir Hossein Musavi. So did the Arabs of Ahvaz. And the Turks of Tabriz. The Turkmen of Khorasan. The Baluch. The Loris. There's no way Ahmadinejad could have extracted anything like 65% from this election.
It was rigged.
The rumor in front of the Interior Ministry at this hour is that the rigging came after a grand deal was reached between the big wigs of the regime. Mainly the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his #2, former reformist president Rafsanjani. It is said that the reformers gained unspecified concessions in return for turning a blind eye to massive vote-rigging to keep Ahmadinejad.
Units of the Basij militia are at this hour beating up opposition supporters.
Mousavi and his top team are effectively under house arrest.
This could well turn into what the regime fears most: A velvet revolution. Iranians are sick and tired of this ideological lying regime. They are fed up with antagonism with the US.
One incident, just one incident, can spark a democratic revolution.
It is possible yet not very likely.
The likely scenario is that the change won't yet come from the normal people. Instead, the ruling elite will now badly splinter.
Some Mullahs in Qom are already raising their voices to condemn the treatment of Mousavi and his supporters. Others are 100% sure that another principalist candidate, former Revolutionary Guards Chief Rezai, was denied a fair vote too.
To his credit, it was Ahmadinejad who opened up the can of worms in the first place. By calling attention on former president Rafsanjani's wealth, he broke the tacit agreement among the ruling class.
Ahmadinejad is not an important man. He does not even belong to the ruling elite of Iran.
But the fire of fitna he started will engulf Iran. For what held the regime together so far was the unspoken set of agreements. Now all bets are off.
The three thousand or so families that run Iran will now try to reach a new deal.
Under the pressure of further economic tensions, and a firm olive branch that is being extended by the Obama administration, the ruling elite will find it increasingly harder to strike a new internal deal.
It won't happen.
They will crack.
And so will the Khomeini regime under its own weight.
Like the Tiananmen massacre in China, the hardliners in Iran have committed such a blunder that there is no turning back now.