Poor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He thought that having an election rigged for him meant that he had real power in Iran, rather than the more obvious conclusion that he’s the mullahs’ favorite puppet — and that might change quickly. After having a senior cleric read a public fatwa against his choice of first vice-president and a televised order from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei telling Ahmadinejad to get rid of his toady, the Iranian president finally accepted the resignation of his son’s father-in-law from the post:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caved into pressure from hardline clerics and the country’s supreme leader Friday and allowed the resignation of his top deputy after a week-long standoff.
For days, the president had resisted pressure from hard-liners, including a direct order from the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to dismiss his choice for the key post of first vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who last year angered conservatives when he made friendly comments toward Israel.
The final blow, however, appeared to be the public reading on state television of the order issued earlier by Khamenei to dismiss Mashai because he is “contrary to the interest of you and the government.”
The issue created a rare rift between Ahmadinejad and the hard-liners that form the bedrock of his support and comes at a particular sensitive time as he is battling opposition reformists who accuse him of winning the June 12 presidential elections through fraud.
I’d say it came at a “particularly sensitive time,” since tens of thousands of Iranians continue to publicly demonstrate against the “dictator.” That term initially applied to Ahmadinejad, but has broadened to at least include Khamenei, if not mean entirely the chief theocrat and the true wielder of power. Khamenei and his colleagues on the Guardian Council had to send the Revolutionary Guard and Basij irregulars into the streets to bludgeon the populace into silence, and they still haven’t quite succeeded in doing that.
One has to wonder about the mental state of a man who picks that kind of moment to alienate the people keeping him from being thrown from power altogether, or at least the illusion of power. Mashai angered the mullahs with remarks about Iranians being friends of Israelis while running the tourism industry not long ago. However, the real issue for the mullahs had to be Ahmadinejad’s clumsy attempt to build a personality clique based on nepotism that threatened the mullahs’ control over the government.
If nothing else, it shows that Ahmadinejad is an ingrate. After having gone through all that trouble to rig an election for him, the dimunitive mouthpiece had the arrogance to steal power from them! A little more of this infighting, and the ruling class won’t even notice when they get overthrown by an Iranian populace fed up with the lot of them.