On September 13, Ramin Jahaanbegloo, an Iranian intelectual, gave a lecture at the University of Toronto (read his similar speech in Washington). After the lecture we gathered in a nearby coffee shop and had a discussion about Iran considering the fact that the current reformist movement has virtually come to a dead end. We talked about three possible scenarios for the near future.
A break up and overthrowing of the current government is one scenario. It has been getting more possibility recently as the Iranian government shows less potential for any reform. This scenario could be triggered by street uprisings similar to those happened in recent years in Eslamshahr or even among the university students. However it requires participation of the people, better organization, and an established opposition group/party; None of which exist now.
The second scenario is a military coup d'etat by the hardliners. In case of any instability the chance of this scenario increases to prevent the first one! Although the hardliners have lost their positions to some extent, there is little doubt that they still have enough power to change the equations suddenly.
The third possible scenario and the most probable one in my opinion is a transfer of power to the centrists, i.e. the pragmatic politicians/clerics under the leadership of Hashemi Rafsanjani. There are indications that the centrists are getting more hope and power every day as the left-wing reformists fail to deliver their promises and the right-wing conservatives continue to loose their public support.
How likely is the third scenario, after the much publicized defeat of Hashemi and his allies at the parliamentary election? The Economist magazine believes it to be very likely! "Pragmatism, the flavour of the day" [available to subscribers only] is an article describing the desire of Iran to move toward more pragmatic approaches.