As Iranians mark another day of mourning for demonstrators killed by the Islamist forces last week, protest-movement leaders are engaged in behind-the-scenes debates over strategy.
Pointing to the diminishing size of the protest crowds in Tehran, some Khomeinist-regime apologists have already concluded that the protest movement is fizzling out.
In fact, the movement has won a major victory by ending the myth that the regime controls "the street" through "the popular masses." The last 12 days have shown that the opposition can produce larger, more determined crowds. The only way the regime can regain control of "the street" is by deploying security forces in a de facto state of emergency.
A regime that used crowds as a means of political communication is now afraid of crowds.
That fear was manifest yesterday, when the authorities cancelled a demonstration they'd ordered against alleged British intervention in Iranian affairs. Fears that the opposition might exploit the rent-a-mob gathering as cover for its own demonstration persuaded the regime to scrap the exercise.
"We know that we can have the streets whenever we want," says an adviser to Mir Hussein Mousavi, the former prime minister who challenged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the disputed June 12 presidential election. "The question is: Where do we go from here?"
Broadly speaking, three competing strategies are emerging within the opposition.
Mousavi has adopted a minimalist approach, modeled on the 1980s strategy of Polish trade-union leader Lech Walesa. This consists of making a single demand within the constitution -- a demand that, if granted, could alter the rules of the game.
Mousavi is calling for fresh elections. This demand enjoys wide support across the political spectrum. Even some Ahmadinejad supporters say they might go along with a rerun so that their standard-bearer could win with an even greater majority.
The regime has refused to consider a rerun. Yet the option could remain on the table for some time. The Council of the Guardians of the Constitution, a 12-man body that must approve the election results, has just asked for five more days to endorse Ahmadinejad's victory. And "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei must also issue an edict appointing Ahmadinejad before the new presidential term starts in August. In short, the rerun option will remain alive for some time.
One possibility is for Ahmadinejad himself to ask for a rerun in a bid to prevent greater bloodshed. Or he might resign soon after starting his second term, in a show of defiance against the opposition.
For that to happen, the opposition must keep up the pressure while deepening the split in the Khomeinist establishment.
It's also important that major foreign powers refuse to legitimize a second Ahmadinejad mandate. The prospect of greater international isolation could persuade more establishment figures to join the call for fresh elections.
Former President Muhammad Khatami, a mid-ranking mullah and a close adviser to Mousavi, shares the analysis. He, too, has warned against adopting a strategy aimed at straight regime change.
But not everyone in this very diverse opposition movement agrees. Mehdi Karrubi, a mid-ranking mullah and another of the three candidates that Ahmadinejad claims to have defeated, insists that the opposition must offer a broader agenda.
Karrubi has broken what was perhaps the biggest political taboo in the Khomeinist system by questioning the validity of Khamenei's appointment as "supreme guide" in 1989. He wants not just fresh presidential elections, but a rerun of the procedure that propelled Khamenei to the summit of power.
Karrubi is also offering greater autonomy for ethnic minorities, laws to prevent the armed forces from intervening in politics and constitutional amendments to emphasize the republican aspect of the regime against its religious character.
The third well-known opposition figure is former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom Ahmadinejad has denounced as a Mafia-style "godfather" leading networks of corruption and illicit business deals. According to his entourage, Rafsanjani is "mad with rage against Ahmadinejad" and working hard to prevent the re-elected president from completing his second four-year term.
Rafsanjani and Mousavi were bitter political enemies in the 1980s. In 1989, Rafsanjani, allying himself with Khamenei, engineered constitutional changes that abolished the post of prime minister and sent Mousavi into 20 years of political desert.
Now, however, the two are said to be as thick as thieves, determined to return to power. Nevertheless, Rafsanjani believes that Mousavi's minimalist strategy will lead into an impasse: The regime may blow hot and cold, as it has for the last 10 days, until it regains control.
Rafsanjani's strategy is aimed at forming a transitional authority backed by the grand ayatollahs of Qom. Once that authority is in place, the Assembly of Experts, a 92-mullah organ that has the power to impeach and dismiss the "supreme guide," could be used as a threat to Khamenei, forcing him to cooperate or risk losing his job.
In short, Mousavi aims at power-sharing arrangements in which Khamenei and his supporters would remain a major part of the ruling elite. For their parts, Karrubi and Rafsanjani believe that for the opposition to gain power, Khamenei must be either marginalized or booted out.
The imponderable in all this is the attitude of the Iranian people. No one knows which of these strategies, if any, might mobilize their energies.