October 23, 2008

THE GRACEFUL WAY OUT THE DOOR:

Questions over health of Iranian president: A string of cancelled events has sparked rumours Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be prevented from seeking re-election (Robert Tait, 10/23/08, guardian.co.uk)

The reports will be a blow to the pride of a leader who revels in his energetic style and is known for micro-managing government affairs.

They come at a time when Ahmadinejad is wrestling with acute political problems including near 30% inflation, rising unemployment, plummeting global oil prices, a market trader strike over plans to impose VAT and demands for the resignation of his interior minister, Ali Kordan, for falsely telling MPs he had an Oxford University degree.

More worrying is that the rumours appear to have given Ahmadinejad's critics a new stick to beat him with. Fellow hardliners in Iran's so-called principalist, or fundamentalist, camp are calling for the president to withdraw from the forthcoming presidential election unless doubts over his health are cleared up.

Issa Saharkhiz, an Iranian political analyst, said the reports could have been fanned by opponents, including the Tehran mayor, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who are preparing to run against the president. "I'm not sure if these health problems are permanent or just a result of tiredness," Saharkhiz told the Guardian. "But some groups, mainly moderate conservatives, may be thinking that they have found a political solution for eliminating him from the nomination for the elections."


Thanks, Ayatollah Khamenei.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2008 1:34 PM
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