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Dual power in Iran

Monday, June 20, 2011 - 19:35

Not so long ago, all the world's newswires were full of information about the events in the Middle East, where the revolutionary fiery lava swept all obstacles standing in its way, sparing neither awakened people, nor the ruling elite of the countries. Since the end of December and up to this day, Arab countries have become a hostage of this national disaster. The causes of unrests in the region are diverse and agitated in many guises, and they have both socio-economic and political overtones and religious roots, corresponding to the specific historical development of the countries. Iran also was not left out. In February 2011 the political opposition against the Islamic republic held mass protest rally in order to support Egypt and Tunisia. Demands of the protesters were directed against the Islamic regime. As a result the demonstrators were brutally suppressed by police.
Behind the curtain of popular unrest in the Middle East in Iran there also were internal political intrigue, a hidden conflict between two authoritative representatives of the country – the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the spiritual leader Ali Khamenei. It should be noted that the governmental system in Iran had a dual nature, because after the declaration of the Islamic Republic in 1979, according to the constitution the country had two heads: the president, who makes the executive branch and religious leader, who is in fact considered to be the highest state entity, who makes all the major decisions and decrees.
It should be also noted that the current president enjoyed the support and patronage of a spiritual leader before. What could ruin their relationship? Ahmadinejad's radical course fully corresponded to the ideology and policies of the Islamic Republic. According to some analysts, the confrontation between two leaders of the country began not so long ago. The conflict began serious when the Iranian president, using his position, decided to make reshuffle. In December 2010, the secular leader of the country on his own without consulting with Ayatollah Khamenei, dismissed Manouchehr Mottaki from his post of the Foreign Minister, when he was on an official visit to Senegal. Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the IAEA was appointed to take his place. This step of the President caused the discontent and claims from Rahbar and his supporters, but Ahmadinejad ignored the remarks, following only his own benefits and interests in the political arena. The cleavage has become more sharply defined after the next (mid April) demand of the President to dismiss Heidar Moslehi, the Minister of Information (who was also the chief of the intelligence office). The president knew that Moslehi was a close associate and a friend of the religious leader. Analysts believe that the reshuffle was initiated by Esfandiar Rahim Mashal, the head of the presidential administration, who had friendly and personal relationship with Ahmadinejad (Mashai’s daughter is the Iranian president’s daughter in law). It's not a secret that the current president sees Esfandiar Rahim Mashai as his successor. The Western press sees this political reshuffling carried out by the president as a preparation for parliamentary elections that are to be held in 2012 and for the presidential elections in 2013. In response to this gesture of Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah took radical measures. Literally, some time after his retirement the minister Heidar Moslehi was reinstated by a decree of the supreme religious leader. In addition, the letter of Rahbar about the restoration of "valuable worker", which was also public, was addressed to Heidar Moslehi, and not to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This action of ayatollah was taken as a public insult of the president and caused his strong dissatisfaction. Offended president arranged sabotage by not appearing at several meetings of the Iranian government.
Perhaps Ali Khamenei, feeling extravagant ambitions of Ahmadinejad in the political arena, decided to moderate the zeal of the young "upstart" and the representatives of the conservative elite and the Iranian parliament advised not to repeat the fate of the first president of the Islamic Republic, who lost the presidency.
Today, Iran has not its best time, the situation is unstable, and the disagreements between the president and the supreme religious leader may further aggravate the political situation. It is not clear how the situation will be developing: either a weak Iranian clergy would be able to keep the Islamic policy of the state, or Ahmadinejad and his supporters would be able to take the country out of political stagnation with the help of modernization. In addition, from time to time political opposition reminds up about itself, speaking out against the ruling elite. Moreover, we should remember the threat from the U.S. that wants to impose sanctions on Iran's nuclear program. You should also pay attention to the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei understands that the West and the Arab world can immediately take advantage of the precarious situation in Iran and "blow" the conflict up to the international level. After realizing this and in order to mitigate the political situation in the country and preserve the integrity of the Islamic Republic, on May 15, 2011, the President Ahmadinejad made a statement on state television of Tehran that there were no disagreement with the supreme religious leader, and he also emphasized that he treats Ali Khamenei "as the father." It is not known weather the president managed to soften Rahbar with his speech, but it’s clear that there would never be support from Khamenei, as it was in the past. Apparently, there will not be forgiveness of "prodigal son" who dared to disobey his father. In addition, the apparent disregard for the commandments of the Islamic constitution, which was gained by the Iranian people through years of British colonialism and despotism, economic and political crisis for the sake of creating an Islamic independent and prosperous state, depriving themselves of democratic and material freedom, can not be forgiven by senior government dignitaries and by the people.



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