At the brink: Ahmadinejad refuses to guarantee Mousavi’s safety

posted at 1:45 pm on June 14, 2009 by Allahpundit

In which Christiane Amanpour singlehandedly earns back some of the credibility lost in CNN’s news vacuum last night. There’s a print article about this at too but the clip really must be seen to be believed. I can’t tell if it’s just a poor translation or a particularly eccentric example of Ahmadine-speak, but he’s so disjointed as to be almost incoherent. In fact, between this and his surreal dismissal of the growing street protests as “not important,” I wonder if the strain’s made him go goofy. Steve Clemons’s Iranian source predicted that Dinnerjacket would try to have Mousavi and Rafsanjani killed, but it’s one thing to eliminate your opponents and another thing to taunt millions of their outraged supporters by hinting about it on TV. Is this nut trying to provoke a civil war or has he finally gone completely around the bend?

I’m doing my best to stay on top of the Iran story in Headlines — the very latest is Mousavi formally calling for the election results to be voided — but honestly, it’s moving too fast even for that format. Your best bet is Twitter; see, e.g., this report of Arabic-speaking Iranian security forces now on patrol, the first of its kind that I’ve spotted anywhere. If you don’t want to sign up and follow the dispatches from Iranians in the streets, that’s okay: Just go here and keep refreshing or, if you’d rather have updates streamed to you, go to Twitterfall and check the box for #iranelection in the left-hand sidebar. (If it isn’t there when you read this, type #iranelection in the custom field and check the box there.) If you’re already on Twitter and looking for Iranians to follow, I recommend Change_for_Iran, StopAhmadi, iran09, TehranBureau, alirezasha, and jimsciuttoABC. There are others, of course; if you know of any good ones, share in the comments.

Before you watch, ponder a good question asked by a commenter in Headlines: Why is Khamenei so invested in an Ahmadinejad victory, especially if, as we’re forever being told, he holds the ultimate power to set policy in Iran? Mousavi’s no secularist or squish; he’s basically Ahmadinejad lite, duly vetted and approved by Iran’s Guardian Council as Islamic enough to lead the country. The New Yorker theorizes that Khamenei got nervous about how much youth support Mousavi was getting and decided to torpedo him lest he bring some fundie version of Hopenchange to the presidency. But why would Khamenei worry about that when the regime did such an effective job of containing Khatami’s reformist agenda 10 years ago? The safe play would have been to appease the kids by crowning Mousavi the winner, enacting a few token reforms, and then muddling along with the nuke kabuki until they have the bomb. Instead, he validated an electoral sham so brazen that it has the country inching towards revolution. Why? Occam’s Razor suggests that this is a true coup, with Ahmadinejad rigging the results himself and then somehow forcing Khamenei to bless them. But how could he manage that? What’s really going on here?

Exit question: How soon before Hezbollah and Hamas are ordered to attack Israel to distract the Iranian masses?

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I have a qestion here and I hope someone can answer this.

If Khomeni is some kind of ‘voice of God’ in Iran, isn’t it dangerous for him to vote for a politician? What would happen if the politician lost? Surely the man is supposed to be perfect, or so the myth goes, so how can he risk so much on a candidate who looked certain to perform badly?

I guess this is a kind of Iranian constitutional question. Has the Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla ever vote for a candidate who lost?

If his vote was unprecedented, then it may give us a clue as to who is pulling the strings …

dcpolwarth on June 15, 2009 at 5:23 AM

If his vote was unprecedented, then it may give us a clue as to who is pulling the strings …

Khamenei has been consistent in his public support of Ahmadinejad ever since the latter was picked to be mayor of Tehran in spring 2003.

Archibald L on June 15, 2009 at 6:28 AM

Ahmadinejad refuses to guarantee Mousavi’s safety

Kind of like the way Obama refused to guarantee the safety of the Chrysler bondholders? Or the AIG execs?

Great minds think alike.

Next thing you know Obama will be using Amadinnerjacket’s tailor.

HondaV65 on June 15, 2009 at 7:28 AM

If his vote was unprecedented, then it may give us a clue as to who is pulling the strings …

dcpolwarth on June 15, 2009 at 5:23 AM

The Islamic “Leader” always pulls the strings. Take a look at his powers …

Article 110 [Leadership Duties and Powers]

(1) Following are the duties and powers of the Leadership:

1. Delineation of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran after consultation with the Nation’s Exigency Council.

2. Supervision over the proper execution of the general policies of the system.

3. Issuing decrees for national referenda.

4. Assuming supreme command of the Armed Forces.

5. Declaration of war and peace and the mobilization of the Armed Forces.

6. Appointment, dismissal, and resignation of:
a. the religious men on the Guardian Council,
b. the supreme judicial authority of the country,
c. the head of the radio and television network of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
d. the chief of the joint staff,
e. the chief commander of the Isalmic Revolution Guards Corps, and
f. the supreme commanders of the Armed Forces.

7. Resolving differences between the three wings of the Armed Forces and regulation of their relations.

8. Resolving the problems which cannot be solved by conventional methods, through the Nation’s Exigency Council.

9. Signing the decree formalizing the election of the President of the Republic by the people. The suitability of candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, with respect to the qualifications specified in the Constitution, must be confirmed before elections take place by the Guardian Council, and, in the case of the first term of a President, by the Leadership.

10. Dismissal of the President of the Republic,

with due regard for the interests of the country, after the Supreme Court holds him guilty of the violation of his constitutional duties, or after a vote of the Islamic Consultative Assembly testifying to his incompetence on the basis of Article 89.

11. Pardoning or reducing the sentences of convicts, within the framework of Islamic criteria, on a recommendation from the Head of judicial power.

(2) The Leader may delegate part of his duties and powers to another person.

The Religious Leader holds all real power in Iran. The President is merely a “mouthpiece” or “surrogate” pretty much. It’s pretty ingenious too – if the President screws up and gains the ire of the people – the Leader can get rid of the President even though the President was probably only following the directions of the Leader.

Note in that list of responsibilities, that it’s the leader that declares war and acts as the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces. All of the concern over Amadinnerjacket is really misplaced. He’s just an anti-semite with a potty-mouth – but he can’t order any nukes to be launched at Israel. When that happens – it will be the Leader’s call.

So the President – who sits in that seat – is really not important from our perspective. The Iranian Constitution is very careful to ensure that the Leader is the one that makes all calls.

HondaV65 on June 15, 2009 at 7:49 AM

There are others, of course; if you know of any good ones, share in the comments.

Too many comments to check if this person’s been mentioned already, but I am following @Robot117

S/he has good insights, retweets a lot of other Iranians, and takes periodic shots at Obama and his inaction, which is a nice bonus.

intricate3 on June 15, 2009 at 9:49 AM

And what make Ahmadinejad think that we will protect him in this challenge?

MSGTAS on June 15, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Will the US gurantee his safety?

Oh. We are no longer the superpower, good guys of the world. We are just a member nation in a world community….

James on June 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Oh. We are no longer the superpower, good guys of the world. We are just a member nation in a world community….

James on June 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

And I might add “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

-Barry “The surge won’t work” Obama

Geochelone on June 15, 2009 at 5:30 PM