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Perhaps I’d be more apt to believe in it if one or more of those reformer candidates was advocating popular uprising against the Supreme Leader, aka the Ayatollah who actually makes all the real meaningful decisions in the Iranian government.

Like it is with most all modern asian governments, “democracies” included, real structural change will only come when the military turns against strong man or the oligarchy. The Shia religious element is something to take into account with Iran as well — crushed in on western and eastern borders by heavily armed volatile Sunni-majority nations — but I still think the central tenet of asian governance holds firm: political authority is predicated through the implicit or explicit threat of violent force.