As the repercussions from the summer's election fraud and its bitter aftermath continue to ripple through Iranian politics, it's become clear that the greatest fear of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies in the Revolutionary Guards and among hard-line clerics is a "velvet" people's revolution of the type that swept authoritarian regimes from power in Georgia with the 2003 "Rose Revolution," and in Ukraine with the "Orange Revolution" in 2004-2005.
Are those fears well-founded? Given a level of popular opposition to the theocratic regime that surprised many outside observers, especially on the part of the country's urban youth, is there a viable prospect that the regime can be swept from power by a people's revolution? Given the sensitivity and danger of any domestic group being associated with the "Great Satan," are there proactive and helpful steps -- secret or otherwise -- that the United States should take to improve the chances of a "velvet revolution"? What aspects of the velvet revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia might apply to Iran? Finally, is there likely any truth to Iranian charges that the United States or other outside players were behind the unrest surrounding the elections?