Ever since fanatical Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was installed by the Guardian Council last June via a questionable election, nearly every step taken by the former Commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s foreign assassination outfit has been designed to either solidify his hold on power by purging those in the Iranian government deemed not “revolutionary” enough or making it clear that he seeks confrontation with the west and Israel over the Iranian nuclear program.
Many analysts questioned Ahmadinejad’s victory in the runoff election against long time Iranian politico Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani whose loss to the little known former mayor of Tehran occurred under suspicious circumstances. Prior to the run-off, there were several charges of corruption, including the unleashing of 300,000 Revolutionary Guards to mobilize support for Ahmadinejad. Two newspapers who dared to print a letter outlining the charges from a reformist politician were summarily shut down. Then, in the subsequent run-off between Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad, ballot box irregularities were reported as a sizable segment of the population boycotted the election. Polling places that were deserted on the day of the election ended up showing thousands of ballots cast for the former hard-line mayor.
It is important to understand that the President of Iran is on a very short leash. His decisions must be ratified by Iran’s Supreme Leader who also controls the ruling Guardian Council which has absolute veto power over laws passed by the Iranian parliament as well as access to the big stick in Iranian society; the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). The Council is made up of 6 clerical members and 6 lawyers, all of whom are appointed by the Supreme Leader. The Council also has absolute authority in matters involving elections, determining who can run and, as we have seen, who wins and who loses.
The Supreme Leader of Iran is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A former two-term President during the time Ayatollah Khomeini served in that position, he succeeded to the office upon the death of Khomeini in 1989. Since then, Khamenei has gradually radicalized the Council by appointing hard-line Islamists to the clerical positions. This move has stifled whatever reformist impulses were generated by the election in 2000 in which a group of (relatively) more moderate politicians swept into parliament and the presidency. Former President Mohammad Khatami who was extremely popular among students and some of the more secular parts of Iranian society, ended up being emasculated by the Council who saw to it that even some of the more modest reform proposals were shot down.
It also became apparent that the reform politicians engendered something that the Guardian Council could not deal with; hope for a more secular and freer Iran. Demonstrations – some of them violent – broke out in support for some of Khatami’s proposals which were ruthlessly suppressed by the real power center in Iran; the IRGC. These fanatics are under the direct control of the Supreme Leader who functions as their commander. It would not be too much of a stretch to say that the election of Ahmadinejad was a recognition by the Guardian Council that reformers like Khatami were dangerous to the stability of the Islamic Republic not to mention their own stranglehold on power.
So what are we to make of Ahmadinejad’s actions over the past 5 months? Here’s a partial list of what he has said and what he has done since the election:
- Before even taking office, he said the Islam will conquer the world: â€œThanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world,â€ he said. â€œThe wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world.â€
- Denied taking part in the takeover of the US embassy in 1979 despite bragging about his involvement on his website.
- Restarted the Iranian nuclear program while negotiating with the EU to curb Iran’s uranium enrichment program.
- Reiterated his belief that “Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”
- Continued to support the terrorists killing our troops in Iraq.
- Vowed not to stop the conversion of uranium into bomb-grade material no matter what the Europeans and Americans did.
- Promised to share nuclear technology wit the rest of the Islamic world.
- Promised to to abandon co-operation on nuclear matters if his country was threatened with penalties due to its work on making a nuclear bomb.
- At an anti-Zionist conference, he called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”
- Defended those remarks and engineered massive protests in support of them.
- Offered a solution to Iran’s stock market crisis by saying that â€œif we were permitted to hang two or three persons, the problems with the stock exchange would be solved for ever.”
- Has now closed all nuclear sites to UN inspections.
(Very big Hat Tip to Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs whose website made the previous extremely easy to document).
A cursory examination like the one above of what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said and done since his election should make even the most casual of observers sit up and take notice. This is no “business as usual” run of the mill Islamic theocrat. He is a radical anti-Semite, a dyed in the wool America hater, and an experienced terrorist who personally was involved in the July 1989 execution-style murders of Abdul-Rahman Ghassemlou, leader of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (which opposed the mullahsâ€™ regime), and two others in an apartment in Vienna.
And very soon – if not already – he will have his finger on a nuclear trigger.
The big question is why? Why would Supreme Leader Khamenei place the future of his country not to mention the world in the hands of someone like Ahmadinejad?
Ignore the mainstream press who have downplayed the more outrageous statements made by this terrorist by saying it is for “domestic political consumption.” Neville Chamberlain said exactly the same thing about Hitler.
The point is this; Ahmadinejad appears to have the experience, the temperament, the zeal, and ideological purity for one thing and one thing only – to confront Israel and the west and go to war if necessary in order to secure the regimes future. And that future and the future of the Islamic world as Iran sees it lies in their building a nuclear arsenal.
With the United States involved in Iraq, with Israel under siege from both the Palestinians and most of the rest of the world, with defeatism and timidity infecting the governments of western Europe, and with the probability that they will soon have nuclear weapons, perhaps (pure speculation alert) the Iranians feel the time is right for confrontation. After all, the military situation heavily favors them at the moment as only a massive invasion would probably be able to slow their march toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Their nuclear sites are not only spread out over many parts of the country, but those sites have also been placed underground making them almost inaccessible to all but the largest bombs in our arsenal.
Ahmadinejad’s election makes sense only in this context. If you are going to opt for confrontation, would you rather have a relative moderate like Rafsanjani who was in favor of negotiation with the west over Iranian nuclear ambitions or an Ahmadinejad who has proven track record as a military commander and has demonstrated himself as tough as nails in negotiations that more and more look like a sham, a stalling tactic while Iran continues to enrich enough uranium to build bombs?
The ball is now in our court. Will we allow Iran to realize its nuclear ambitions? Common sense says no. But in the end, there may not be very much we can do to stop them.
The Captain has some sober thoughts on Ahmadinejad’s administration. I think that Ed fails to carry through his analysis to its logical conclusion by not asking the question: Why?
Why would Khamenei support someone like Ahmadinejad whose governing style and rhetoric are so beyond the pale of civil discourse between nations and civil society? Why doesn’t he mind that Iran is becoming increasingly isolated internationally?
I tried to answer that in my post above by speculating that the next few months will be crucial to the regime in that they will likely face military action of some sort either by Israel or the US for their continued instence to develop nuclear weapons. In light of that, isn’t Ahmadinejad the kind of man you want leading Iran?