Iran Focus: London, Jun. 26 Irans newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad huddled behind closed doors with the countrys Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to chart the new administrations policies, as the victory of ultra-conservative factions within the ruling theocracy continues to resonate in political circles in Iran and abroad. Iran Focus
London, Jun. 26 Irans newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad huddled behind closed doors with the countrys Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to chart the new administrations policies, as the victory of ultra-conservative factions within the ruling theocracy continues to resonate in political circles in Iran and abroad.
Former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani held a long meeting with his close allies and aides last night to discuss their future, after suffering a humiliating defeat in the Friday run-off.
Rafsanjani, who faces an uncertain political future, announced that he was forming a new political grouping, the Front for Islamic Moderation.
When I was young, I remember attending a speech by Imam Khomeini, who said we must always act with moderation, rather than acting in an extremist or fanatical way, Rafsanjani said.
The seventy-year-old cleric, one of Ayatollah Khomeinis most trusted aides, said the results of Fridays elections have to be assessed in terms of the interests of the Islamic revolution.
We need an organization, the former President told his aides, in an implicit recognition that Ahmadinejads victory was the result of an organised effort by the nationwide machinery of the Revolutionary Guards and the paramilitary Bassij.
One of Rafsanjanis aides blamed his close relatives for creating problems for the defeated candidate. These people have always been a problem for you and you have paid a heavy price for their positions and behaviour, he told the meeting.
A day after Rafsanjani made a sharp attack on the Guardian Council and blamed those close to Khamenei for his own electoral defeat, a prominent member of Majlis (Parliament) took a swipe at the former President.
Emad Afrough, chairman of the parliaments Cultural Committee and a Khamenei ally, said in a speech in the Majlis, We saw how the rival candidate [Rafsanjani”> entered the contest with all his might, all his clan, all his resources, and in the name of a national coalition. But this was very superficial and it was false.
Those who previously called [Rafsanjani”> the symbol of dictatorship, suddenly changed their positions, because they felt they were in danger, Afrough told his fellow deputies. They began calling him the symbol of freedom and moderation. Some of the so-called intellectuals tried to polarize the political landscape by calling the other side [Khameneis allies”> the symbol of dictatorship, fascism, and fanaticism.
The least we expected from [Rafsanjani”> was that he would take a stance against the wave of extensive support from the liberals, the religious-nationalists, the stooges of Western powers, and the enemies of the Islamic revolution and the late Imam, the Khamenei ally said. We expected him to distance himself from them, both from the point of view of political logic and loyalty to revolutionary and Islamic goals. But this did not happen, and I hope it would serve as a lesson.
Analysts saw the unprecedented attack on Rafsanjani from the Majlis tribune by a known ally of the Supreme Leader as a warning shot to the former President.
They told [former Majlis Speaker Mehdi”> Karroubi to shut up, and he did. They are telling Rafsanjani to do the same, said Nader Poursani of Iran Monitor, a London-based journal on Iranian affairs.
The ultra-conservatives, most of whom hail from the Revolutionary Guards, like talking in military jargon and are calling this mopping-up operations, Poursani said.
But the ultra-conservative camp itself is divided, as different factions are jockeying for power to get as many seats as possible in Ahmadinejads cabinet, expected to be presented to parliament in the first week of August.
For more than a decade since Khomeinis death in 1989, the only certainty on Irans political landscape was that the Khamenei-Rafsanjani duo would hold together and act as the anchor for the regime in difficult times, Poursani said.
That certainty is now a thing of the past. What happens next could be anybodys guess.