As horrible as this is, the protests and violence still do not approach the scale of 1979. But if they ever start to, then if Ayatollah Rafsanjani can't get the Assembly of Experts to dismiss Khamenei, the state will be a failed state with no real government, only a strongman.Rafsanjani is the head of the powerful Assembly of Experts, which comprises senior clerics who can elect and dismiss the country's supreme leader
After his loss at the presidential elections in 2005, a growing tension between him and President Ahmadinejad arose. Rafsanjani has criticized Ahmadinejad's administration several times for conducting a purge of government officials , slow move towards privatization  and recently hostile foreign policy in particular the atomic energy policy . In return Ahmadinejad has fought back that Rafsanjani failed to differentiate privatization with the corrupt takeover of government-owned companies and of foreign policies which led to sanctions against Iran in 1995 and 1996.. He also implicitly denounced Rafsanjani and his followers by calling those who criticize his nuclear program as "traitors"I'm pessimistic about the short term outcome. It is far from certain that the Basij and Revolutionary Guards would accept the overthrow of Khamenei. I was half expecting to wake up this morning with news of a massacre but thankfully that has not happened yet.
- Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (wikipedia)