Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Expediency Council Rising

RFE-RL reports on changes to the Iranian political system which give the Expediency Council the power to supervise the Majlis. Members of the Majlis are, predictably, criticizing this move, which they say goes against the spirit of the Constitution which enshrines sovereignty in the people's elected institutions. The article suggests it may be an attempt by the old guard as represented by figures like Rafsanjani - who heads the body - to hold off the more ideologically charged younger generation of hard-liners. I think this places too much emphasis on policies and not enough on the real key to Iran's political stability, corruption. Ali Ansari has talked about Iran as more kleptocracy than theocracy, and popularly elected institutions threaten the ability of the old guard to control graft. Current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known in the West for his hardline views on ideological matters, but his campaign was rooted in a message of populism and opposition to corruption. That sort of thing threatens the regime far more than social issues they can give and take on.


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