“An all-or-nothing power struggle for Rafsanjani, Khamenei”

“An all-or-nothing power struggle for Rafsanjani, Khamenei”
July 8-13, 2009
     Contrary to Western analyses describing a popular uprising in Iran, Alastair Crooke argues Iran is undergoing an elite power struggle centering on opposition by former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani against President Ahmadinejad. Crooke writes that some “Old Guard” clerical leaders, threatened by Ahmadinejad’s campaigns against their wealth, selected opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi to represent their interests. Adding that there is genuine desire among clerical elites and the Revolutionary Guards to purge potentially corrupt officials, Crooke writes that Rafsanjani and Khatami now face isolation from the establishment as the regime seeks to “inject new stimulus into the Revolution” and harden its foreign policy posture (Tribune Media Services).
     In contrast, Geneive Abdo argues that Supreme Leader Khamenei faces a significant threat from clerics who are opposed to his “extremist” policies and hope to revitalize Iran’s religious democracy. Abdo writes that Rafsanjani may benefit the most from this power struggle by gaining support from the clerical establishment as an alternative to Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, leading to a “gentler” Iran. Abdo also suggests that Moussavi and other reformers may face trial and imprisonment to maintain the regime’s stability (Foreign Policy).
     Rafsanjani is scheduled to lead Friday prayers on July 17. Borzou Daragahi reports that Rafsanjani’s speech will be watched for signs of either further challenges against Khamenei or a potential truce. Mousavi has announced that he and Khatami will be attending (Los Angeles Times).
Tribune Media Services | Foreign Policy | Los Angeles Times

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