Crackdown in Iran...Huge Divions Amongst the Mullahs...
I'm posting Amir Taheri's story today, just as there is a huge crackdown in Iran...
BILLED as "unity prayers," yesterday's congregation at Tehran University's campus instead highlighted the deep divisions that are tearing apart the Khomeinist ruling elite.
The gathering was supposed to reassert the authority of "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei and defuse the crisis triggered by the "re-election" of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And Khamenei did deploy his oratorical talents in a desperate appeal for calm -- yet his total support for Ahmadinejad indicated the regime's determination to rely on force rather than oratory to regain control.
Khamenei went further, asserting that Ahmadinejad's views on "both domestic and foreign policies" are closer to his than those of the three defeated candidates. In other words, the election results stand -- and the decision to recount votes in 646 polling stations, just over 1 percent of the total, is nothing but a tactical maneuver by the regime.
In a bid to persuade some key figures of the establishment to return to the fold, Khamenei assured former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and former Parliament Speaker Nateq Nuri that they won't face prosecution on charges of corruption. (In last month's presidential debates, Ahmadinejad had accused the two men of embezzlement and misuse of public funds. According to Tehran sources, both had written Khamenei asking him to "clear their name in public.")
Yet some within the elite seem to be beyond even the hope of reconciliation.
To start with, all prominent figures of the "loyal opposition" boycotted the event at the last minute. Of the three defeated candidates, only retired Gen. Mohsen Rezai Mir-Qaed put in an appearance. Nearly half the members of the Islamic Majlis, Iran's ersatz parliament, were absent -- along with most members of the Assembly of Experts, a body of 92 mullahs who are supposed to supervise the work of the "Supreme Guide." Some senior members of the military-security establishment were also absent, indicating that the split affects even the so-called "deep state."