Here is Laura Secor's article about Iran. She has been a few months ago in Tehran. Last year Luara has a long article at New Yorker on the student movement and the activists in Iran, titled Fugitives. He has talked with some of the Basijis in southern Tehran and also with a hardliner cleric, close to Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi in Qom. He wore chador (something like veil) to visit this cleric. Something doesn’t happen very often by a foreign journalist. They sometimes insist on the very normal kind of Hijab. But, definitely she wanted to impress him to get the story...I am about to finish it....At the time fundamentalism rhetoric of President Ahmadinejad has provoked the international community, approaching the hardliners in Tehran sounds timely. Many people want to know "what they think about the governance of Ahmadinehad."
"Ahmadinejad has continued this trend. He has generated considerable personal good will in poorer communities, but hardly anyone I asked could honestly say that their lives had gotten better during his presidency. He fought to lower interest rates, which drove up lending, leading to inflation and capital flight. The government cannot risk infuriating the public with the austerity measures that would be required in order to solve its deep-rooted economic problems. But as long as its short-term fixes continue to fail, the government will go on being unpopular. The last two presidents have lost their constituencies over this issue. And so officials seek to distract people from their economic woes with ideological posturing and anti-Western rhetoric. Not only has this lost its cachet with much of the Iranian public, it also serves to compound Iran’s economic problems by blackening its image abroad.
“Iran has not sorted out its basic problem, which is to be accepted in the international community as a respectable government,” Alizadeh said. “Investors do not take it seriously. This is a political crisis, not an economic crisis.”
For a Western traveler in Iran these days, it is hard to avoid a feeling of cognitive dissonance. From a distance, the Islamic republic appears to be at its zenith. But from the street level, Iran’s grand revolutionary experiment is beset with fragility. The state is in a sense defined by its contradictions, both constitutional and economic. It cannot be truly stable until it resolves them, and yet if it tries to do so, it may not survive."