Why a lame duck Ahmadinejad should consider defection while traveling abroad


by FG

For those close to Ahmadinejad, it doesn't matter anymore whether he serves out his term or whether he resigns soon while inside the country? Either way, they can expect arrest, prosecution and subsequent horrors. In fact, that process already underway. Reassurances as to their safety and freedom are worthless since they will be honored only so long as convenient. Never forget the value of similar "reassurances" given to the Shah's generals in 1979. This regime has a well-known habit of liquidating potential threats.

Ahmadinejad's best move--while it is still possible--would be to resign while traveling abroad with family and endangered supporters. At this point there is no other way to protect those close to him. It also provides a great opportunity to turn the tables on Khamenei and poison the latter's recent triumph. Under the right conditions, would Ahmadinejad hesitate to offer inside details on Larry King or 60 minutes? In terms of potential impact on Iranian and world opinion it would be equivalent to having a fly on the wall at the Nazi's Wannasee Conference in the fall of 1942.

What can Ahmadinejad tell Iranians and the world concerning Khamenei's inside role in rigging the election, in crushing protestors and in decisions to go after protestors' families and the mosques and homes of liberal clerics? Since Ahmadinejad enjoyed substantial access to intelligence files, what can he reveal regarding Khamenei's covert support of death squads who murdered reformers and journalists during Khatami's presidency? Most especially, does Ahmadinejad know anything of the Supreme Leader's role in the death of of Khomeini's son? (The latter had become a ferocious and "inconvenient" critic of Khamenei's authoritarian tendencies who could not easily be handled by the usual means).

To being this about, Ahmadinejad would need two assurances from the West: First, immunity from prosecution extending to all those defecting with him. Secondly, a partial unfreezing of some frozen accounts to provide enough to live on at least modestly. For Iranians, such a trade-off would be a great if distasteful bargain. Consider the alternative--possibly years of bloodshed, torture and economic hardships under the brutal hardliners who totally control Iran's government these days. Such an offer could be made via a third party, preferably a friendly mid-east country.


more from FG