Opinion article by Bijan Safsari, Rooz Online
Hashemi Rafsanjani's recent remarks about ayatollah Khamenei's perspective on the current conditions in the country and the latter's lack of confidence in the head of the State Expediency Council (currently Rafsanjani) open a new chapter in the conflicts within the Iranian regime.
Hashemi Rafsanjani - photo by Abbas Kowsari, Sharqh
After numerous denials in the past, Rafsanjani has now confirmed what had until now been brushed aside as mere rumor about the supreme leader: The ascent of an aspiring pseudo-poet who has reneged on all his pledges and is now intoxicated with power and desires to be god.
It would be na´ve to treat Rafsanjani's comments as mere grumblings of an insider to his old colleagues (provincial governors during the reform and construction periods after the 1989 war). What is behind these revelations is a declaration of war against the supreme leader of the Islamic regime who has confessed to have crowned himself the paramount leader.
Based on remarks made by witnesses of the meeting that the governors had with the head of the Expediency Council - when Rafsanjani made his exposing comments - this new revelation comes exactly a day after Rafsanjani met with the supreme leader. One can therefore surmise with a high degree of accuracy what must have taken place during the meeting of the old guard: Rafsanjani counsels his old comrade in arms about the dangers facing the country and its state of affairs, only to be refuted and rejected by the supreme leader. The leader seems unaware that Rafsanjani's warnings are not merely about the collapse of the regime, but also about what may happen following that event.
Hashemi Rafsanjani (R) with Supreme Leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei
But Rafsanjani has been a man who has failed to attain his goals, an incomplete performance in all spheres. This ranges from his dreams of becoming Iran's Amir Kabir (the revered prime minister during Naser al-Din Shah's reign in the first half of 19th century Iran), his aspirations of becoming the next supreme leader in the final days of ayatollah Khomeini's life, his desire in becoming the eternal leader of reconstruction of the country, and his inconclusive remarks regarding the reformers and elections that he made at his last Friday congregation prayer. But now he seems to be trying to conclude all of these and wrap-up his unfinished endeavors and dreams by shooting for two specific goals: dislodge Khamenei from his leadership - whose attainment he himself played a role - and protect his own and his legacy's and family's future.
Without a doubt, political events from now on will be centered on other axis and the supreme leader of the regime, who is already busy dealing with a disobliging government, will now have to confront those who lean towards the head of the State Expediency Council. One outcome of this war theater could be the removal of the supreme leader as the ultimate decision-making authority, a possibility that seems to be already taken into account as potential "trouble-makers" for the upcoming elections are realigned or removed. Political groups too may need to recalculate their post-election scenarios. For reformers, it is of particular importance that Rafsanjani declared that Khamenei does not believe in any past mistakes he may have made and so will insist on repeating the same mistakes in the future. So while Khatami has until now not expressly stated that he shall not run in the June presidential race will probably announce this soon, unless his loyalty to the supreme leader tops his devotion to the regime.
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