(2 of 2)
For now, the Establishment doesn't seem threatened by people's grievances. But moderates are worried that a serious confrontation with the U.S., possibly involving military strikes, would provoke a legitimacy crisis for the regime. All of which suggests that Iran may defy the West over its nuclear program for as long as it can manage, and adapt at the last minute to avoid a military clash. Until then, even the threat of sanctions could prove useful by offering Iran's President an external source of blame for the nation's economic problems.
Iranians seem resigned to the likelihood that with tensions rising, the situation at home is likely to get worse. Earlier last month, police confiscated all the illegal satellite dishes in my neighborhood under the guise of preventing the broadcast of impure content. The "real" story circulating among residents went like this: a regime official had recently begun importing small, laptop-size satellite dishes that work indoors. If the government rounded up the rooftop dishes, everyone would be forced to buy the official's dishes. For a while, people on my block stood outside debating what to do. The elders finally shook their heads in dejection while their children traded ringtones on their mobile phones.
> To read Azadeh Moaveni's new blog about daily life in Tehran, Lipstick Jihad, visit time.com