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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ahmadinejad: Enemies on all sides

In the New York Post, Amir Taheri recounts some of the unusual circumstances connected with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's installation as President.
Signs of trouble were abundant at Monday's ceremony -- a legally necessary prelude to today's -- when "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei officially "endorsed" the election results with a fatwa appointing Ahmadinejad to a new term.

Concerned that protesters might disrupt that ceremony, organizers kept its venue a secret until the last minute. This was the first time in 29 years that the "endorsement" event was shrouded in secrecy.

It was also the first to be boycotted by more than a dozen top regime figures, including the two former presidents still alive and in Iran. At least four of Ahmadinejad's outgoing Cabinet ministers also stayed away.

Part of the ceremony was broadcast live on national TV, giving a glimpse into the deepening split in the regime. Some key figures such as Majlis (parliament) Speaker Ali Larijani and Chief Justice Mahmoud Shahroudi refused to congratulate Ahmadinejad on his re-election and left the ceremony without shaking his hand.
And remember the story from Tuesday about how Khameni snubbed Ahmadinejad? Believe it or not, Taheri says it was actually the other way around.
Then there was the hint of cooling ties between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei. Once an aide had read the endorsement "fatwa" aloud, Khamenei extended his hand toward Ahmadinejad, expecting the president to kiss it in accordance with tradition. But Ahmadinejad refused -- preferring to kiss his shoulders in a style popular among Arabs.

This was Ahmadinejad's first opportunity to demonstrate his displeasure at Khamenei's public intervention in the new Cabinet's formation.

Last month, the "supreme guide" sent the president a missive ordering him to cancel the appointment of Esfandiar Mashai -- Ahamdinejad's closest friend and, some say, spiritual guru -- as his first assistant. In an unprecedented move, Khamenei ordered the missive published -- a public signal that Ahmadinejad can't choose his team as he pleases.
Until now, I thought it was Ahmadinejad who rigged the elections and that Khameni had just played along. Now, it appears that Khameni rigged the elections so that he would have a pliable Ahmadinejad - a puppet.

All of this goes to show who is really in charge in Iran - Khameni. That makes it even less likely that the Obama administration's efforts to 'engage' Iran will succeed. Khameni answers to no one.


At 8:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The character of the Iranian regime will be more obstinate and radical. The people who run it are not the kind of people to be entrusted with nuclear weapons.


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