Recently there's been much debate over "What are the Green Movement's chances of success?" and a few Western activists are asking themselves, "Should I go on trying? Is this all worthwhile?" I think the real question is "Can the Green Movement afford to quit?"
Maintaining the status quo or returning to pre-election conditions are not options. The current Regime remaining in power indefinitely is also not an option. Things are going to change drastically, one way or another.
Government by velayat-e faqih is a system destined to fail because there are no checks and balances, so it will inevitably lead to corruption sooner or later, and corruption is only tolerated by a population for so long before they overthrow the corrupt. Unchecked dictators eventually go too far, steal too much, kill too many, and the people simply refuse to stand for it any longer. Iran may or may not be at that point yet, but it is the certain outcome of this method of government.
Those who invested their hearts and minds into backing velayat-e faqih are like cult followers who can't bear to admit that their leader has misguided them. People in that psychological situation are extremely unlikely to agree to any changes in the worldview they've set their heart on. It's just too damaging to the ego to admit that you did such extreme things, threw out a shah, killed all those people (my god, all those people!) for something that was never, ever going to work. It's unthinkable, so they subconsciously choose not to think about it, and it is not likely that any amount of persuasion will ever alter that state of mind.
The IRI has been tolerated thus far by other nations because, although it has been hostile and belligerent to an entire hemisphere, declaring open enmity to vast sections of the planet for the crimes of "arrogance" and "imperialism," nobody thought it would last. And it hasn't. Thirty years is the blink of an eye in terms of nations. It's one generation, and that's all it took for the population of Iran to break the spell and realize this system can't work. The world waits now with anticipation and hope for the rise of true democracy from this new generation.
I think they're sure to succeed, but even if the Greens did fail, the IRI's time is up. Even if the people had not risen up, that would still be so. The machinery of war is gearing up worldwide. As someone who fights for peace, I look for the signs, and they have been building for some time. The patience of the world powers for the lawlessness of the IRI is coming to an end. No more will they tolerate the funding of terrorists, the threatening of neighbor states, the inflammatory rhetoric and declarations of hostility, the kidnapping, the torture, the rape. No more.
George Bush and his cronies actually wanted to invade Iran long ago for reasons of pure plunder, so at this point BushCo probably set things up so it would be easier for the US to invade than to not do so. I have no facts to back that up, I'm just going by how ruthless operators operate. They fix things. They get their money. If they know they might not be in the right place at the right time, they arrange it so the person who will be there is pressured to decide the way they want. If you realize BushCo's main goal was Iran all along, their two "foolish" wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suddenly look like extremely slow pincer movements to box in the real quarry.
Thankfully we have a president in office now who is not completely motivated by oil profits, so he may choose to dismantle that elaborate Neocon plan and pursue diplomacy with all his might, but because of the cult mindset of the IRI leaders, they will not be interested in cooperation. They will never cease from their goal of developing highly enriched uranium, and the world at some point in the near future will collectively decide that is too dangerous to be allowed.
If someone is telling you one minute they're incredibly devoted to a religion, and then the next minute they're violating every principle of that religion in a naked bid to stay in power at all costs, you can't trust their word that they're not going to build a bomb. The fact that the IRI leaders think nobody notices their hypocrisy is further proof that they are living in a cult-induced fantasy, completely oblivious to the rapidly disappearing patience of the rest of the world, and such delusional people having vast quantities of enriched uranium is very dangerous for everyone.
The mullahs aren't stopping, and the IRGC aren't stopping, and the worried leaders of the rest of the world aren't stopping. The only path out of this situation that doesn't involve massive bloodshed is the Green path, so I hope like hell they're not stopping either, and I think the least we Western supporters can do from the comfort of our computer desks is stay with them to the end, whatever that turns out to be.