Good news(?): Moderate nut elected head of top Iranian council

posted at 12:08 pm on September 4, 2007 by Allahpundit

It’s Rafsanjani, former president of Iran, current enemy of Ahmadinejad (who defeated him for the presidency two years ago), and now head of the Assembly of Experts, the Shiite version of the College of Cardinals. He’s known for being marginally less of a fanatic than the “conservatives” who populate the Assembly, which makes his selection interesting, especially in light of Khamenei’s move this weekend to install a hardliner as the new chief of the Revolutionary Guard. From the AP piece:

Rafsanjani defeated Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, an extremist within the hard-line camp who received 34 votes for the Assembly of Experts leadership, state-run television reported.

While Jannati is among the proponents of the theory that the legitimacy of Iran’s clerics to rule the country is derived from God, Rafsanjani is believed to side with pro-democracy reformers who believe the government’s authority is derived from popular elections.

He also received the most votes in the popular election to the Assembly of Experts late last year. Either the regime is playing a stick-and-carrot game with the U.S. by moving Rafsanjani up the ladder to offset Ahmadinejad’s bellicosity and signal it may be open to some kind of diplomatic deal or there’s a legitimate power struggle between the “pragmatists” and the hardliners and someone at the top is getting nervous that the latter group has too much influence right now. Whichever it is, it’s worth flagging now, especially since this puts Rafsanjani in position to succeed Khamenei when he dies or quits.

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Stick-and-carrot.

amerpundit on September 4, 2007 at 12:11 PM

Rafsanjani is believed to side with pro-democracy reformers

Not by me it isn’t. The mullahs play this game every few years, they shuffle between “moderates” and “conservatives”. Rafsanjani is as committed to the annihilation of Israel very bit as much as Ahmadinejad.

aengus on September 4, 2007 at 12:15 PM

could be a sign of a “civil war” within the heirarchy.

elBarto on September 4, 2007 at 12:15 PM

Either the regime is playing a stick-and-carrot game with the U.S. by moving Rafsanjani up the ladder to offset Ahmadinejad’s bellicosity and signal it may be open to some kind of diplomatic deal or there’s a legitimate power struggle between the “pragmatists” and the hardliners and someone at the top is getting nervous that the latter group has too much influence right now.

More like a box-and-carrot trap. Odds Foggy Bottom leads us right in – 5-3.

steveegg on September 4, 2007 at 12:17 PM

Is this Assembly of Experts a lifelong position? Stick or carrot doesn’t matter as long as he is a thorn in Dinnerjacket’s side.

Limerick on September 4, 2007 at 12:20 PM

Don’t fall for this, AP. Those mullahs are all the same, and they’re getting nukes either way.

PRCalDude on September 4, 2007 at 12:22 PM

Rafsanjani, as some may recall, is the fellow who stated a few years ago that if a nuclear war erupted between Israel and Iran, and all the Jews were killed, but ‘only’ about 30 million Iranians, the Iranians would be the victors. The country of Iran would be history, of course, but that is not the aim of such folk: Islam would have won, as the Jews would be history.

Henry Bowman on September 4, 2007 at 12:27 PM

He’s known for being marginally less of a fanatic …

Like a Suicide Bomber with slightly longer fuse.

fogw on September 4, 2007 at 12:30 PM

Remember, the President is still relevant here.

Big S on September 4, 2007 at 12:34 PM

Nothing but sleight of hand…

doriangrey on September 4, 2007 at 1:04 PM

Oh, hey, that is good news! I’d much rather that Rafsanjani nuke us than Ahmadinejad, wouldn’t you? Oh, yes, this is certainly a positive development.

morganfrost on September 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM

morganfrost on September 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM

seems easier to spell though.

JiangxiDad on September 4, 2007 at 2:12 PM

I’ve done the math, and this new leader will not be a problem for us.

Weebork on September 4, 2007 at 2:58 PM

The metaphor “Stick & Carrot” comes from how to get a donkey to go forward.
.
I hear it being used as “stick or carrot” where you would hit them with a stick or reward them with a carrot.
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But it means to use a long stick to suspend a carrot in front of the beast on which you are riding, thus motivating him to move forward.

TheSitRep on September 4, 2007 at 6:46 PM

I thought Khamenei called ALL the shots. He is just using smoke and mirrors and playing one off the others ego. Why pay attention to his puppets as if they were capable of introducing change from their individual viewpoints?

It’s the Ayatollah I told ya. ( Ramadan is almost upon us, how young is too young for thighing? Ask your Ayatollah. )

BL@KBIRD on September 4, 2007 at 11:13 PM