Omid Memarian passes along more details on Iran's currency problems:
So far, Iranians’ frustration over the plummeting exchange rate seems to be directed squarely at Ahmadinejad’s government. “If you listen carefully to the slogans people are chanting, they’re so far mostly economic in nature, not political, and their frustration is directed toward their own government, not the U.S. or international sanctions,” says Karim Sadjadpour, a senior associate and Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment. “Iranians are disunited about what kind of a political system they want, but they're united in wanting greater economic dignity.”
Juan Cole thinks Ahmadinejad may have been the specific target of this week's protests:
[T]he Iranian right and business classes have long loathed [Ahmadinejad] because of what they see as his populist and irresponsible mismanagement of the economy. (His subsidies for the working classes and the poor, and easy money policies grated on them). Ahmadinejad has been in bad odor with conservatives since his tiff last spring with the Supreme Leader over key government appointments, including in intelligence. The Supreme Leader won, as might be suggested by his title, and Ahmadinejad is a lame duck.
Although Ahmadinejad is hated in the West, Wikileaks revealed that he has often been the official most inclined to compromise with and negotiate with the West, being blocked by the Revolutionary Guards Corps and other hard liners to his right. For the Iranian far right to unseat Ahmadinejad is anything but a victory for the West.
He also warns that sanctions will likely not have their intended effect. And if a failure of sanctions leads to a military strike, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates had some sobering comments about that option this week, as Bill Sizemore reports:
Neither the United States nor Israel is capable of wiping out Iran's nuclear capability, he said, and "such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert."
Iran could respond by disrupting world oil traffic and launching a wave of terrorism across the region, Gates said.
"The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world."