I ranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been frightening neighbours with meddling-by-proxy in Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza. The regime’s apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons has also prompted unusual solidarity among the US, Europe, and Russia. But the most telling signs of trouble for the theocratic regime in Tehran are currently on display not in its external relations but in domestic turmoil. The reaction to gas rationing last week cast light on public discontent with Ahmadinejad’s failure to keep his promises to improve economic conditions and share Iran’s oil wealth with the common people. Amid long lines of cars waiting to fill up in Tehran, young men threw stones at police and chanted Ahmadinejad should be killed!

Despite the windfall oil profits flowing into Tehran’s coffers, living conditions for most Iranians outside the corrupt clerical elites are deteriorating. A group of 57 Iranian economists released a letter earlier this month chastising Ahmadinejad for policies that are stoking inflation and curtailing growth. They also blamed him for provoking UN sanctions against Iran. Ahmadinejad has been arresting reformists and censoring the press precisely to quash this kind of dissent, but his blatant domestic failures are becoming the best antidote to the threat from Tehran. — The Boston Globe