Iran Special Analysis: Grand Ayatollahs, Rafsanjani, and the Supreme Leader’s Struggle for „Authority“ (Azadi/Lucas)


The Through-the-Looking-Glass pronouncements of the regime continue. Somehow the fervent declarations that the Government has triumphed, vanquishing post-election opposition, and has rebuffed even the strictest of sanctions lives alongside daily warning of continued sedition.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami gives the latest testimony to the phenomenon. In comments on Friday, he declared, „The enemies are pursuing the theory of separating Islam and the clergy from politics.“

As Press TV notes, Khatami’s line echoes that of the Supreme Leader, who has warned that the enemy’s objective is to promote an Islam minus the clergy and Islam minus politics, thus sowing discord among the clerics.

But Khatami goes farther, as Press TV summarises: „[He] warned against those who, posing as clerics, are the mouthpiece of the enemy and seek to deceive people.“

You know, if I was a cynic rather than an eager believer in these statements, I might think that Ayatollah Khamenei — or least some leading mouthpieces in the Iranian system — are worried that the Supreme Leader’s three trips to Qom in the last month have failed to bring „unity“ and ease the concerns of senior clerics.

All of the discord was supposed to be resolved during Khamenei’s ten-day venture to Qom in early October, but he has paid two subsequent one-day visits for further discussions.

So why no resolution? The broad context is that the Supreme Leader, after more than 20 years, is still trying to get recognition of his Islamic knowledge as that of the highest-ranking clerics (maraje, or sources of emulation).

It has long been a simmering issue that Ayatollah Khamenei rose to his position in 1989 without holding these credentials. The most prominent clerical opponent of the regime, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, held this rank. His passing last December may have seemed an opportunity for the Supreme Leader to finally claim religious supremacy.

Hier weiterlesen …

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