November 16, 2005


IRAN'S PERILOUSLY HONEST MAN (Amir Taheri, November 8, 2005, New York Post)

[M]ullahs also hate Ahmadinejad because he is reviving the original revolutionary discourse of Khomeinism without dissimulation.

The concepts and ideas that Rafsanjani and Khatami treated as mere metaphors are being redefined as literal truths under Ahmadinejad. One key concept is that of the Hidden Imam, the awaited Mahdi of the Twelver Shi'ites. To Rafsanjani and Khatami, this has little immediate relevance to the actual life of society. Ahmadinejad, however, has restored it as the central truth of Iran's political, cultural, economic and social life.

The new president has written and signed a pact with the Hidden Imam — and has asked all officials to do so. Taken to its logical conclusion, this move dispenses with the need for any mullahs — including the "Supreme Guide."

This reinterpretation of Twelver Shi'ism excludes not only any form of rule by the mullahs but also any form of electoral democracy. In this way, Ahmadinejad hopes to outflank the two principal political forces that have been fighting for power in Iran since the middle of the 19th century. His message is: Neither mullahrchy, nor democracy.

Both sides are right here and it is in their synthesis that Iran will find the basis for a durably decent society. It is precisely because the Messiah is not yet here, and because there's no reason to assume His imminent arrival, that we can not expect perfect government and therefore the myriad compromises and half-measures of democracy are quite legitimate.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2005 4:21 PM

Think The Grand Inquisitor.

Posted by: Dennis at November 16, 2005 6:52 PM

Think we'll need a Lord Kitchener soon.

Posted by: Mikey at November 16, 2005 8:59 PM

I assume that the real bosses are using Ahmadinejad to scare foreigner, when the real bosses are done with him, he will have a fatal accident. Then we will be supposed to be nice to the less flamboyant hack who takes his place.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 17, 2005 2:58 AM

"Contract with the Hidden Imam." Is Newt Gingrich involved?

Posted by: Mike Earl at November 17, 2005 12:39 PM