A Coronation in Qom
Oktober 13, 2010 Hinterlasse einen Kommentar
The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the eve of making a trip to the holy city of Qom. This is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s first trip in quite a while, significantly since the controversial presidential election that has divided the country into warring camps — a conflict that persists at least in a war of words, now that demonstration fever has abated with the regime’s far-reaching crackdown on dissent.
This division is reflected not least among Iranian religious figures, including the most prominent Marjas (sources of Shia emulation). Some senior figures, such as Grand Ayatollahs Yusuf Sanei and the late Hossein Ali Montazeri, found themselves at the helm of the spiritual leadership of the Green Movement. Many others, such as Grand Ayatollahs Mohammad Ali Dastgheib and Asadollah Bayat-Zanjani, took public positions against the government and publicly called the Supreme Leader’s management abilities into question. One must not forget that Mehdi Karroubi is a cleric himself and a well-decorated one who held many senior positions under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Karroubi was one of two presidential candidates who created a major dilemma for the Supreme Leader: how to deal with them without risking a popular uprising when Iran is fighting a cold war with the West over many issues, one that seems to inch ever closer to turning hot.
Khamenei is going to Qom for several important reasons, among them to show his authority and intimidate those clerics, both grand and junior, who dare to oppose him and his puppet president publicly or privately.
An analyst in Iran who spent many years in Qom told me the Supreme Leader is trying to announce his marjaeiyat — the ability to issue instructions for handling modern issues based on traditional Islamic rulings. When the classic texts fail to offer a clear way to deal with a contemporary problem, the Marja guides his followers with a ruling. It is generally considered essential to establishing his status that a Marja publish his resal-e amaliye (book of instruction), something that Khamenei has not done so far. This is a significant sign of weakness in a country run by clerics in a manner similar to the dictatorship depicted in George Orwell’s