Monday, May 9, 2011

Iranian clerical caste close siege to Ahmadinejad

Something is moving in the upper echelons of the Iranian regime. The new arrests of close associates of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has aggravated the political crisis and worsened the pulse that the president has with the supreme leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The arrests have spurred rumors about the possibility that Ahmadinejad may be forced to resign, as happened to the former president lay, Abul Hasan Bani Sadr, at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution.

According to local press, police arrested the last few hours to several members of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai environment, brother of the president and former head of the presidential office. Among those arrested was an unidentified person who is accused of witchcraft. Days earlier, members of the Revolutionary Guards, the elite corps of security forces also arrested Amirifar Ayatollah Abbas, one of the clerics closer to the president.

The official reason given for the arrests is a controversial religious film which is under investigation by prosecutors, in announcing the arrival of the Twelfth Imam is "very close". According to the Twelver Shia tradition, dominant in Iran, said Imam, Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Mahdi, went into hiding in the ninth century and reappear at some point in history to make way for the end of time.

Although Ahmadinejad himself has repeatedly expressed confidence that the suspect will be coming soon, guess the date is prohibited and may be considered a crime of witchcraft, that Iranian law punishes by death. However, it seems that after the alleged legal excuse lies, in fact, the confrontation that the President has with the religious establishment because of controversial statements and actions of his influential brother.

The dispute was revealed in all its rawness on 17 April, after the failed attempt to dismiss Ahmadinejad's current Minister of Intelligence, Heydar Moslehi, faced with his brother and ultra-conservative clerics and politicians who have called an enemy of the system. According to the American newspaper 'Los Angeles Times, the source of contention comes from an alleged plot to spy from the Intelligence Ministry to the former head of the presidential office.

A few hours after the cessation of Moslehi was announced by the official press, the minister was reinstated in his post for direct and public order of the supreme leader. During the next two weeks, Ahmadinejad disappeared from public view and even missed two Councils of Ministers, fueling rumors of a boycott and crisis within the Iranian regime.

According to information released by the Iranian website Ayandeh, Khamenei would have given an ultimatum to the president to reinstate Moslehi or resign his post. The alleged threat of the supreme leader, who so far has defended the president's re-election despite allegations of electoral fraud by the opposition, has not been confirmed nor denied by official sources.

What does seem certain, is that their defense of Mashai, attacking Moslehi and his nine-day boycott, Ahmadinejad has broken the deck and has challenged the powerful clerical caste. Last Friday, one of the most influential clerics, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned that he should not "overstate its power." Even Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is considered the main supporter of Ahmadinejad against the religious class, said the supreme leader's orders "must be obeyed." And the powerful Revolutionary Guard has asked the president not to proceed with a controversial "benefiting the enemy."

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