January 9, 2009

SO CLOSE TO AN INSIGHT:

Ahmadinejad loses favor with Khamenei, Iran's top leader (Nazila Fathi, January 7, 2008, IHT)

There are numerous possible reasons for Ahmadinejad's loss of support, but analysts here all point to one overriding factor: the U.S. National Intelligence Report last month, which said that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure. The report sharply decreased the threat of a military strike against Iran, allowing the authorities to focus on domestic issues, with important parliamentary elections looming in March.

"Now that Iran is not under the threat of a military attack, all contradictions within the establishment are surfacing," said Saeed Leylaz, an economic and political analyst. "The biggest mistake that Americans have constantly made toward Iran was adopting radical approaches, which provided the ground for radicals in the country to take control."

Iran had been under increasing international pressure for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program, which could be pursued for either peaceful or military purposes. In separate speeches last year, American and French officials did not rule out military attack against Iran if it continued its defiance. Those threats have stopped since the National Intelligence Report was released.

While the pressure was on, the leadership was reluctant to let any internal disagreements show. Senior officials, including Khamenei, constantly called for unity and warned that the enemy, a common reference to the United States, could take advantage of such differences.


The point, of course, is that Ahmedinejad was never in the Ayatollah's favor. He's accidental and to be disposed of at the earliewst opportunity--the next election.


MORE:
Iran bans volunteers from fighting Israel (ALI AKBAR DAREINI, 1/09/09, AP)

Iran's top leader banned hardline Iranian volunteers on Thursday from leaving the country to carry out suicide bombings against Israel, but warned that Iran would assist the militant group Hamas in other ways.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's ban sought to tone down calls by allies of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to toughen Iran's stand against Israel.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2009 6:28 PM
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