It is not clear yet what impact the Ayatollah’s call for an end to the protests will have. Ahmadinejad’s opponents had been expected to stay off the streets during Friday prayers and the cleric’s address.
They hadn’t heeded earlier warnings from the authorities that their demonstrations were illegal. Iran has imposed very tough reporting restrictions during the present crisis. To a large extent foreign media are relying on amateur footage posted on the internet for the latest images, and there is little independent verification of what is being reported. But Iran remains highly volatile and Khamenei’s comments about opposition leaders being responsible for any bloodshed raises the stakes.