Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Love of the Land: Who Rules Iran? Iranian Ambitions

Who Rules Iran? Iranian Ambitions

Reza Molavi/K. Luisa Gandolfo
Middle East Quarterly
Winter '10

(As February 11th approaches, all signs say that the streets of Iran will be explosive. This paper offers some insight into the dangerous forces at play within the ruling elements of Iran. Y.)

In the 30-year reign of Iran's Islamic Republic, there have been few controversies as serious as the one surrounding the 2009 elections. The votes that brought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power for a second term have been challenged, not just on paper, but by citizens taking to the streets in angry protests that have only been quelled by brute force on the part of the establishment. Less well known is the upset that followed Ahmadinejad's nepotistic appointment of Esfandiar Rahim Masha'i, the father of his daughter-in-law, to the post of first vice president. Not long after this, Iran's supreme leader, 'Ali Khamenei, demonstrated his personal authority over the entire political system by forcing Ahmadinejad to reconsider his appointee, leading to Masha'i's dismissal. Masha'i had become controversial for his impolitic references to Israel and America. In a speech at a tourism convention in July 2008, for example, he had observed: "Not only we have no enemy, but we are friends with the American people, with the Israeli people, and we are proud that we are friendly with all the nations in the world."[1]

How did this happen? How did a man holding such views on two countries regarded throughout Iran as the Great and Lesser Satan come to such an important public position? Was something less obvious going on? Why was it so important for Khamenei to risk such a public censure of the president?

It is hard to know just what Masha'i intended by his original remarks since they were overtaken so quickly by condemnation and denial. In themselves, they are of little importance since they clearly did not mark any change in emphasis for Iranian foreign policy. It is the incident in its entirety that is of importance, in what it says about the workings of the regime, above all the relationship between the supreme leader and the president.

(Read full paper)

Love of the Land: Who Rules Iran? Iranian Ambitions

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...