May 11, 2007


Is Ahmedinejad’s Star Fading? (Niusha Boghrati, May 3, 2007,

[E]conomic failure has brought candid criticisms from well-known figures within the Islamic Republic.

Head of the powerful Expediency Discernment Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned Ahmadinejad's government that the "deadline of government" in regards to its economic promises had ended.

All members, including the head of the Council, which serves a consultative function to Ayatollah Khamenei, are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader.

Rafsanjani also added that during a meeting with the Khamenei, which took place after the ascension of the new government, he was reviewing the budget and noted that, "points could be seen that did not match the basic policies, but we decided to give some time to the government in order to apply his plans."

In an interview with the French daily Le Monde, Ayatollah Yoosef Sanei, one of Qom's prominent clerics and once a close ally of Ayatollah Khomeni, the leader of the Iranian Revolution, also criticized the economic policies of Ahmadinejad's government stating that, "they promised to put the oil income on people's plates, but now they are taking the money out of people's petrol tanks," alluding to the increase in the price of petrol.

Iran's nuclear program is the other key issue in the Islamic Republic, and its handling by the government has lately been subject to verbal attacks from powerful figures.

Unlike Ahmadinejad's initial bold statements, which faced no negative reaction inside the country, his recent speeches regarding the nuclear program have brought sharp criticisms.

Last February, in reaction to one of Ahmadinejad's fiery remarks stating that the "train" of the nuclear program was proceeding "without brakes and a rear gear," Rafsanjani warned the government about the consequences of shutting their eyes to the West's ire, asserting that, "the angry foe cannot be ignored."

At the same time Dariush Ghanbari, a member of Parliament's National Security Commission, criticized Ahmadinejad's remarks as "unprofessional" and "emotional," adding that such statements harmed the national security of the nation.

Another parliamentarian, Nooroddin Pirmoazzen, asked for a more effective role for the pragmatist conservatives such as Ali Akbar Velaiati and Ali Larijani, who would be placed under direct supervision of the Supreme Leader regarding the nuclear case, suggesting also a ban to prevent "others" from interfering with the issue.

Former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who during his presidency had accepted the International Atom Energy Agency's request to halt the uranium enrichment, has also in various cases voiced his concern over current government policy.

"We have to pay a price for going nuclear and starting negotiations," said Khatami after the adoption of the United Nation's sanction-imposing Resolution 1737 against Tehran's nuclear activities, indirectly referring to the West's request regarding an enrichment freeze as a precondition to begin negotiations.

Hossein Moussavian, a former member of Iran's nuclear negotiating team led by the moderate Hassan Rohani, also advocated a policy of "flexibility, caution and patience" in order to "create trust, remove ambiguities, respond to questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and negotiate."

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 11, 2007 11:55 AM
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