On June 23rd 2009, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a panel with experts on Iran and the Middle East. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Abbas Milani, and Karim Sadjadour spoke about the condition- some say revolution- in Iran with the disputed elections and mass protests. Foreign media has been forced out, and death toll figures rise daily. A brutal suppression of the demonstrations has begun, with videos and news of killings circulating the internet.
The panelists explained that despite the despotic government's persistent attempts to suppress rebellions, the Iranian people's desires have gained new momentum to affect change. Independent polls show that a majority of Iranians are discontent with the economic quandary that President Ahmadinejad has left them in, support the recognition of Israel, favor improved relations with the U.S., and seek the cessation of the nuclear weapons program in exchange for peaceful nuclear technology. There is mounting evidence that, with popular views contradicting Ahmadinejad's policies, the recent polls were a stolen election.
The panelists said that the Iranian ruling order had forever changed. The Ayatollah's authority as the supreme religious leader was flouted when he was openly defied and publicly called a liar. The current uprising distinguishes itself from previous ones as it includes members of all ages and walks of life. Further, fractions have emerged within the ruling regime, which is an important precondition for democratic transitions.