mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Nuclear Deal Fallout
Supreme Leader Backs Purge of Reformists

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poured cold water on reformist hopes that this weekend’s ruling by Iran’s Guardian Council to disqualify thousands of prospective parliamentary candidates would be overturned. Reformists had complained that as few as 1 percent of their candidates will be allowed to run, a development moderate reformist President Hassan Rouhani had publicly come out against, stating that “I will use all my power to protect the rights of candidates.”

But Khamenei was unequivocal in backing the Guardian Council. As Reuters reports:

[I]n a meeting on Wednesday with officials involved in organizing the elections, Khamenei – who wields the final say on all high matters of state in Iran – made clear he did not agree with Rouhani on who should be able to take seats in parliament.

“I said that even those who oppose the Islamic Republic should take part in the election,” he said, underlining his wish for a high turnout to convey popular support for the system.

“(But) this does not mean that opponents of the Islamic Republic should be elected to parliament… Only those who believe in the Islamic Republic and its values should be allowed to enter parliament,” Khamenei said.[..]

Ahmad Jannati, the hardline conservative head of the Guardian Council, assured Khamenei at the same meeting that its consideration of candidates’ qualifications would be done “carefully and will not be affected by any pressure”.

The ace trumps the king, and Khamenei, rather than Rouhani, in whom, along with his Foreign Minister Zarif, the Administration has put so much trust, will get his way here. As Mark Dubowitz has put it in another context:

As we wrote yesterday, the situation may yet change: the arc of history may overtake this regime, and a Thermidorian reaction may yet break out. But at least so far, early results indicate that the deal strengthened the hardliners, rather than the moderates.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • Angel Martin

    More “smart diplomacy” from Obama and Kerry !

  • FriendlyGoat

    “Only those who believe in the Islamic Republic and its values should be allowed to enter parliament.” So says one guy who, along with his predecessor, should have been taken out years ago. Someone in Iran surely know this.

  • Fat_Man

    The idea that there are reformists and hard liners in the Iranian regime is just plain nonsense. There are no doubt, differences in temperament, and in tactical views inside the regime. But, every Friday they get together and chant Death to America.

    Further, the analogy of Thermidor is inapposite. The French Revolutionary government collapsed into chaos pretty quickly in the 1790s. In Iran, Khomeini was able to consolidate his power, and kill or exile his opponents. In this he was more like Lenin. The Soviet Union did not have its Thermidor until Khrushchev consolidated his power in 1955. Khrushchev’s task was made far easier because Stalin had killed all of the Old Bolsheviks in the purges of the 1930s.

    In the Soviet analogy, Khamenei is Stalin. However, he is a much shrewder politician than old Joe, and is far more likely to die a natural death. He is 76, but he could easily last another decade, or more. Robert Mugabe is 91 and has has not yet had the good grace to discorporate.

    Further, there are no iron laws of history, nor is there any inevitable path countries must follow. All history can do is provide analogies to focus our attention. What comes after Khamenei is unknown and unknowable. The next guy could be far less violent and hateful, or he could be the essence of evil. We will find out when it happens.

  • Josephbleau

    I am disappointed, from the title of the article I thought Obama had decided to charge Hillary with crimes against the State!

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service