Khamene'i Supports Ahmadinejad
"Iran's top authority has told politicians to stop squabbling that is undermining the government, in a fresh sign of support for President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his cabinet before the 2009 election.
"Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tends to stay above the fray of day-to-day politics. But this was the second time in less than a month he had made a speech backing Ahmadinejad and his government, under threat of more UN sanctions as the United States and its Western allies seek to isolate Iran over its disputed nuclear plans.
"Addressing worshippers in a Friday Prayers sermon, Khamenei did not mention the president by name but warned against destructive and unfair criticism of Ahmadinejad's government."
Given Ahmadinejad's anti-establishment stances, there are two reasons this could be happening. One is that Khamene'i is using Ahmadinejad to clear the decks of his clerical rivals and perhaps sit Khamene'i up to be the power broker who can determine his own successor. Another is that he might see undermining Ahmadinejad as detrimental to Iran's national interest, perhaps in the sense that to do otherwise would be seen as caving to western pressure regarding Iran's nuclear program.
(Crossposted to American Footprints)