Abbas Milani in The New Republic:
First came a statement by Mir Hossein Mousavi on New Year’s Eve, which offered five conditions for ending the current impasse. But because it did not directly repeat Mousavi’s oft-quoted notion that the June elections were rigged, Kayhan and Rajanews—the two news outlets closest to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad—tried to claim the statement as a major victory for the regime.
Then in late January came reports of a “confidential” letter of repentance written by former Iranian president (and leading reformer) Mohammad Khatami, addressed to Khamenei. The letter supposedly recognizes the legitimacy of Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Again, Kayhan and Rajanews reported on the letter, construing it as a sure sign of the Green Movement’s defeat.
Finally, there was the alleged coup de grace: a statement reported by Fars News Agency, the government-run Iranian news service, from Mehdi Karroubi—known as an uncompromising and defiant leader of the reform movement.