Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Kayhan for Ahmadinejad

Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan, widely seen as an organ of Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, led today with the headline "A unprecedented tsunami of millions: The national work is being completed." (The exact translation might be a tad off.) According to Rasmus Christian Elling, who is making continuous updates at this post, it spoke of support for incumbent President Mahmood Ahmadinejad.

This confirms what many have been assuming: The the Leader, who likes to be called "Supreme Leader," is supporting Ahmadinejad, even while others in the establishment oppose him. Two possible reasons for this are a preference for a confrontational foreign policy or a desire to prevent others within the establishment from enhancing their own power bases. One possible rival is Rafsanjani, whose ambit has increased dramatically over the years, and who for many embodies the corruption Ahmadinejad routinely decries.

One of my doubts about this generally good article is that at least one source seemed to be someone from Rafsanjani's circle who seemed to want to inflate the role of his patron. I don't think, for example, that Rafsanjani needed to talk Khatami into withdrawing. However, the article does highlight the extent to which figures like Rafsanjani are supporting Mousavi, as well as the conflict among establishment figures which is partially manifested in the election even if the election is far from reducible to that conflict.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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