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Iran: Internal Image of Officials Contradict Their Public Persona

By Mohammad Reza Yazdanpanah, Rooz Online

Internal Reports on Supreme Leader's Website

Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei

"The private and public persona of regime officials are in complete contrast. Happy and smiling faces turn into dry and serious ones as one moves from inside quarters of power in the Islamic republic to the outside world, perhaps to maintain the prestige of officialdom."

This is an extract of a report posted by the website of a group that works to "protect and propagate" the works of Iran's leader ayatollah Khamenei after a recent meeting between some government officials of the Islamic republic and the leader of the regime on the birthday anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.

This website is one of two official sites that works directly under the supervision of the leader's office and is charged with disseminating the speeches, positions and news related to this office and that of the leader himself.

Normally, the site publishes special features and reports after ayatollah Khamenei makes a public appearance or participates in an event. These reports describe some peripheral aspect of the event through quotes from a member of the public relations or information office affiliated to the office of the leader.

In Iran those sites that are officially affiliated with the leader's office enjoy the exclusive right to report on ayatollah Khamenei, and official media and public news outlets are permitted to use only those reports that are provided by this office. This is also true for the side stories that emerge from the leader's public events, and they too can be published if they have been first posted by the offices that are officially affiliated with the office of the supreme leader, which is also when public media can write on them as well. In such a recent reporting, this website revealed some aspects of what went on behind-the-scenes during a meeting that took place between the leader and state officials two days ago.

The site narrates some of the events that took place a few minutes before the ceremonies of Prophet Mohammad's birthday in Imam Khomeini's Hosseinyeh (the location for Supreme Leader's public speeches), "No one has yet entered this building. The rain of the previous night has cleared the air and the pleasant sunshine of the winter morning has persuaded all to sit at the chairs in the yard engaging in chit chat under the trees. In this instance, officials from all branches of the government have gathered, some two hundred of them. From ministers and MPs to military officers, bankers, mayors and etc. From old timers to newbies. From this camp to other camps. Even clerics are present, from Tehran and the provinces. There are also some thirty student graduates in theology who are to get their official mantels in order to proselytize the Jafari religion". Later the reporter, introduced as Mohammad Taghi Khorsandi, remarks on the February 14 demonstrations by the Green Movement. "Within a few minutes, the greetings between these old friends turned into discussions on current news and events. These are the very same news stories that have captured the attention of ordinary people. From February 14th events to the recent uprisings by Arab nations."

On February 14th a large number of Iranians in Tehran and other major cities heeded the call of opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi and demonstrated against dictatorship in Iran as well as in other countries in the Middle East.

The side report on this gathering includes some notes on what went on before ayatollah Khamenei came into the hall. As cabinet minister arrived on one side of the yard, ambassadors from Islamic states came in from the other.

The site writes about the competition that officials of the regime had in getting close to ayatollah Khamenei to congratulate him on the Prophet's birthday. And just like ordinary people who push each other aside to move ahead, these officials too elbow one another and get ahead, closer to Khamenei. Protocol and ceremonials are at this time completely ignored.

Greetings are exchanged between ayatollah Khamenei and Hashemi Rafsanjani, according to the site and this includes the heads of the three branches of government. The writer mentions the light jokes that were exchanged between Rafsanjani and some cabinet minister. The writer then writes, "The leader exchanges pleasantries with Rafsanjani and members of the cabinet. Ayatollah Khamenei says that the future of the Islamic nation is bright" and adds that that future is not far off.

... Payvand News - 02/25/11 ... --

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