December 13, 2007


How Iran's president is being undercut: The US report on Iran's nuclear aims may actually hurt Ahmadinejad (Vali Nasr and Ray Tayekh, December 14, 2007, CS Monitor)

The president might celebrate the report's findings as a victory for Iran, but he can not take credit for it. Nor will it in all likelihood favor him in his ongoing tug-of-war with political rivals. It is not Ahmadinejad's hard-line rhetoric and uncompromising posture in negotiations that are to credit for the change in Iran's fortunes. Rather, they come from a decision to halt the nuclear weapons program that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blessed in 2003, when reformists were in charge. [...]

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for March. Much rides on the outcome. It can either give Ahmadinejad momentum going into the presidential elections in 2009 or turn him into a lame duck. His international grandstanding not withstanding, Ahmadinejad's presidency is in trouble. His faction lost in the December 2006 elections for municipal councils and the Council of Experts that will choose the supreme leader's successor. Since then, popular discontent with his administration has continued to grow. This week, former president Mohammad Khatami publicly criticized the president at the prominent Tehran University, whose students protested Ahmadinejad in September. In a recent poll, two-thirds of those who had voted for him in 2005 indicated that they will not vote for him again.

His tough talk and confrontational style have been exposed as bluff--it kills him with hardliners.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 13, 2007 7:18 PM

So, if there is even a smidgen of substance underneath his Members Only coat, we should look for Hezbollah to do something big on the southern border before March 1? Or is Syria going to stir the pot with more than just another car bomb?

Posted by: ratbert at December 13, 2007 10:39 PM

Hezbollah has won in the South. Look for them to create the Northern border.

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2007 7:34 AM