Iran: The Establishment Frets Over the Supreme Leader

In recent weeks some members of the establishment (Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, Ayatollahs Ahmad Jannati and Ahmad Khatami, the Islamic Coaltion Party’s Habibollah Asgaroladi, and recently Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi) have changed tack. The clerics and politicians had been accusing the post-election protestors and their leaders, specifically Iran’s reformists, of trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic in collusion with the West.

However, in the last few weeks the talk from the establishment figures is about attacks on the Supreme Leader. There is hardly any mention of “barandazi” (overthrow of regime) these days. Instead, the words are of conspiracies to limit the power of or to remove the Leader. The declarations that Khamenei is the best possible Supreme Leader give the game away — why make such declarations if no one doubts him?

Recently Mesbah Yazdi, a strong backer of President Ahamdinejad, was the alleged source of some strange comments about the principle of “velayat-e-faqih” (clerical authority). He was quoted as saying that the “velayat-e-faqih” does not need to be the most prominent “marja” (source of emulation). He supported this with the assertation that, at the time of the 1979 Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini was not the most prominent “marja”.

Although this might be seen as an indirect attack on Khomeini’s credibility — it is well known that Khomeini and Mebah had serious disagreements — the comment may... >>>

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