OpinionIran in the World PressIran's clerics decline in power

Iran’s clerics decline in power

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UPI: The fervor nearly three decades after the Islamic Revolution in Iran is dwindling as the once influential clerics falter in the face of secular politics. United Press International

TEHRAN, Dec. 31 (UPI) — The fervor nearly three decades after the Islamic Revolution in Iran is dwindling as the once influential clerics falter in the face of secular politics.

The declining theocratic base of rule leaves the already complicated Iranian political scenario in a state of disarray as increased calls for privatization and other pronouncements reflect in-fighting and declining power among the ruling clerics, the Los Angeles Times said Monday.

“If you ask me, ‘Who is running Iran?'” said one Tehran lawyer, “I would say, ‘Everyone — and no one.’ “

The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently issued orders to privatize some state-owned businesses, causing many analysts to question his authority when those orders fell on deaf ears, the Times said.

Iran is struggling to gain economic momentum as its dilapidated oil sector drains the economic outlook. The World Bank said Iran may run a budget deficit within two years.

Though privatization would help the economy recover, it would also diminish the patronage and influence of many religious foundations and military institutions.

To some analysts, the Iranian political system is dominated by a Shiite clergy but the power base increasingly dilutes across a fragile system of elites.

“The country is no one’s property,” said one advocate in the Times. “The notion that someone owns the country and its people is our biggest problem and incurable disease.”

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