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Rising tensions between the Leader and the President

” Tensions between people of the same political views”

19 May 2011

http://radiokoocheh.com/article/106756

19th May 2011

Ardavan Roozbeh /Radio Koocheh

ardavan@koochehmail.com

Translated by Avideh Motmaen-Far

Although earlier, the Iranian Supreme leader had been forced to react to the presence of ”Rahim Mashaii” in the gatherings of Ahmadinejad’s government and some other points but over the resignation of Secretary of Information, ”Mr. Moslehi” and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s sulk for eleven days, after almost three decades, once again, the battle between the President and the Supreme Leader started.

In these three decades, there has been cases that led to challenges between the Leader and the President but to this extent, perhaps we remember the conflict between ”Abolhassan Banisadr” and ”Ayatollah Khomeini” that ultimately ended up with the dismissal of the President. We are witnessing interactions between two different part of this system.The Government of reforms against the fundamentalists, occasional independent behavior of President Hashemi Rafsanjani which was very authoritarian but the Leader’s word had, as always, more weight.

But Ahmadinejad has a different approach. He wants to use the legal President’s authorities. In the appointments, he tries to impose his opinion and somehow does not tolerate the Leader’s dismissals and appointments.

This is the first time that two fundamentalists are against each other. In fact they are opposed by their most common wish. The Iranian Supreme Leader after the protests to the Presidential elections declared his views to be the same as the President’s but today, the child is facing the father. This conflict today, is full of stress for both parties and the type of disclosures is going to open a new page in the relations of the Iranian rulers.

These days, news of violent clashes between the two groups has arrived. Unverified reports from Monirieh Square of physical violence between supporters of Ayatollah Khamenei and Mr. Ahmadinejad are proof of existence of two sides. One group seeks to reveal the lower layers of relations between individuals in the government and others, the current economic ties of the other group. These events are happening despite the fact that Ayatollah Khamenei believes that they should not bring the conflicts between the Leadership and the government into the public attention.

But what kind of circumstances these events would create for people? what is the position to adopt on this conflict or what kind of opportunities or threats the escalation of this conflict would create for people who are protesting the policies of the current rulers, is the subject of Ardavan Roozbeh’s interview with ”Ali Afshari”, the political analyst:

Mr. Afshari, we are very pleased to have you here at Radio Koocheh. Since a few days, the conflict between the president and the leadership has become the discussion topic in the media, and on the other hand, despite the denials, we see, however, the situation leaked to the media. Do you think that the conflict between the President and the Supreme Leader is a new topic in the Islamic Republic or not?

First of all, I would like to salute the audience of this program and thank you for the opportunity of providing this interview. The differences between the President and the Supreme Leader, or their collision of these two is not a new story in the Islamic Republic. And to some extent, all the past presidents have had this problem. Except Mr. Banisadr where the level of debates in conflicts had not spread far, or at least was not drawn to the public attention.

Previous presidents usually sat back quickly when the leadership would adopt a clear position. Of course Mr Ahmadinejad obeyed, but his compliance has been for a long time and from the provincial forces of the Islamic Republic and supporters of Mr. Khamenei has never been satisfactory so far.

And they continue to protest and believe that the president passed the constitution and did not obey and did not follow the Leader. It is also the first time that Mr. Ahmadinejad talks about a new relationship clearly defined between the President and the leadership. That a powerful President’s honor is a pledge to the leadership and he considers a part of his authority as what the leadership wants. And this means that he does not want to abandon his authority in favor of compliance with the Supreme Leader.

Considering the current conflict and the issue of Mr. Moslehi, who was at the head of a very serious state department of the Islamic Republic and the conflicts still running in regards to proposed merger of a few state departments, do you think that we will witness a presidential front against the leadership and the Parliament?

Yes, I think that a new arrangement between the internal forces has been created and in this new arrangement, the power has a new line and certainly in the House of Commons before the new events, conflict and disagreement existed already between the government and the parliament and the majority in the House – because of their compliance with the Leader himself and the clear support he had for Ahmadinejad – more or less worked with the government.

But it seems that Mr. Khamenei changes his mind in the new atmosphere and strengthens the House of Commons against the President. So we can say that we will witness a much more serious parliamentary majority against the government than before and face serious internal factions which in my opinion the majority of them between conservatives are opposed to Ahmadinejad’s supporters and it seems that even the minority reformist faction prefer to support the leadership in this conflict

But it seems that Mr. Khamenei changes his mind in the new atmosphere and strengthens the House of Commons against the President. So we can say that we will witness a much more serious parliamentary majority against the government than before and face serious internal factions which in my opinion the majority of them between conservatives are opposed to Ahmadinejad’s supporters and it seems that even the minority reformist faction prefer to support the leadership in this conflict.

Just a few months ago when some parts of the system in the popular protests against the regime faced people, they would have reacted with the slogans such as “maintaining the system” and “maintaining the basic policies underlying the system”. Today, how do you define this confrontation? In your opinion what the result of these two large rocks hitting each other would be?

Hence the political front between the two sides is not to support people. I mean that what motivates the opposite parties is the war of power and the future of the system. Means that now that they hold the executive power, they tend to develop it in the future and to maintain and expand their majority in the House of Commons in order to take control. We should consider the fact that their goal is neither take a step forward toward freedom and prosperity for people nor want to move toward democracy and political development.

But in this struggle for power, it is natural that people adopted different positions and Ahmadinejad’s faction, at least in the cultural field defends an opener atmosphere. And because the balance of power within the state is in the Supreme Leader’s favor and the main instruments of power are in its hands, the President and his circle have no other way than reach to people if they want to continue the conflict.

Here is where we can predict that the distance between them increase and they will have to try to adopt a positions which is more oppositional. The issue, in my opinion will end up in favor of civil and  democracy seeking movements.

First of all, this causes less pressure on them so they can find a fresh air to breathe and then be able to take this opportunity to increase their own strength, improve their position and actions. However, this potential is not something that happens automatically and requires proper and smart moves.

If they feel that this fight is a game played between them and not deal with it actively, they are going to lose the momentum. Of course, I emphasize that I do not mean that there should be a game played here. I am still convinced that the democratic forces and Green movement should be bold and promote themselves because the prosperity of Iran and a better future for the country pass by this democratic path.

But using tactics, it is good to use this conflict, especially that it is possible that these two opposed streams be drawn to the streets and there is consequently a chance for the green movement also to restore lost opportunity and come out of the current recession.

Freedom is a serious discussions in Iran but the issue is the absolute rule. Do you think Mr Ahmadinejad may one day be able to become really popular?

Mr. Ahmadinejad has many problems in this area. I think the crisis of public trust is a serious obstacle for Ahmadinejad. However, the government has notoriously bad reputation and cannot pass this obstacle of mistrust too easily. But this unprecedented strength against the leadership that he has had if continues, we can predict that decreases the hatred of people toward him to some extent that I believe it has already happened.

But whether Mr. Ahmadinejad is able to attract people positively, is very difficult and one cannot  predict that happen in short term and depends on many factors. But at least he can decrease the amount of people disgust and the negative public opinion toward him.

 

 
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