A New Tug of War

Southasia - - Editor's mail -

Iran’s Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad has added one more op­po­nent to his long list of fights - Iran's Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei or, more sim­ply, his own boss. The dis­pute be­tween the pres­i­dent and the supreme leader broke out be­cause the two men have dif­fer­ent vi­sions for the fu­ture of Iran. While Ali Khamenei wants to pre­serve the Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion, Ah­madine­jad on the other hand wants to change it. He and his al­lies want to take power away from the cler­ics.

But what the pres­i­dent and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity fail to un­der­stand at this point is, that in Iran there is room for only one ul­ti­mate de­ci­sion-maker. That is the supreme leader and not the pres­i­dent. Aya- tol­lah Ali Khamenei has a long-last­ing al­liance with the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard whereas the par­lia­ment also takes the side of the ay­a­tol­lah and the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard. Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad may have con­sid­er­able pop­u­lar sup­port among Iran's work­ing class but sadly, and much to the dis­ap­point­ment of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, has none of the levers of power pos­sessed by the ay­a­tol­lah. Height­ened ten­sions be­tween Ah­madine­jad and par­lia­ment, along with mount­ing dif­fer­ences be­tween Ah­madine­jad and Khamenei, clearly in­di­cate a power strug­gle ahead of next year's par­lia­men­tary elec­tions and the 2013 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Very truly said, the fight for Iran's fu­ture is far from over.

Sanya L. Misra, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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