September 10, 2009

BECAUSE THE UR LISTENS TO STATE AND THE CIA...:

For Iran's Spies, A Putsch D(avid Ignatius, September 10, 2009, Washington Post)

In recent private contacts with the West, some prominent Iranian politicians have underlined this theme: Ahmadinejad is trying to consolidate power, but the maverick president is facing growing opposition from within the ruling elite. Khamenei remains the crucial actor, according to these Iranians, and while he generally leans in Ahmadinejad's direction, he has overruled some of the president's decisions, such as his attempt to install his closest personal adviser, Esfandiar Mashaie, as first vice president.

These machinations illustrate how difficult it will be to chart a viable U.S. policy for Iran in the post-election turmoil. Already, the administration has shifted from its pre-election approach of active outreach to a more passive stance in which it's Iran's responsibility to make the next moves. "We're keeping the door open, but it's up to them to walk through it," says a senior administration official.

One Iranian political figure has told a Western intermediary that the Obama administration may have unwittingly encouraged the regime's power grab by sending two letters to Khamenei before the June election. The first, delivered through Iran's mission to the United Nations, was a general invitation to dialogue. Khamenei is said to have taken a month to answer, and then only in vague terms. A second Obama administration letter reiterated U.S. interest in engagement. According to the Iranian political figure, this may have emboldened Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to think they had a free hand on June 12.

A second prominent Iranian politician, who is close to Khamenei, advised a Western contact recently that if the United States wants to change relations, it must deal with Khamenei directly, without going through the Ahmadinejad government.


...he doesn't even realize that Ahmedinejad isn't Khamenei's man.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2009 11:38 AM
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