Iran: domestic power plays
AlJazeera English / Nima Khorrami Assl

It is therefore a major blow to the Ahmadinejad camp that Student Bassij Organization followed the Supreme Leader's order and attacked the British embassy while the Ahmadinejad team is trying to improve ties with the West and buy itself international prestige to boost its domestic standing. Today, IRGC and Basij are the most powerful political forces in Iran. Their backing is a prerequisite for anyone to be able to either remain in power or obtain power. Aware of this, both Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have sought to retain the armed forces on their sides by giving them a free hand in the market. But the more resourceful office of the Supreme Leader seems to have done a better job on this front. In fact, as Basiji students were savagely storming the embassy, Khamenei's parliament moved forward with a bill that, if approved, would allocate 0.5 per cent of surplus annual oil income to the Basij.
As Iran approaches the parliamentary elections, it will be interesting to see how Ahmadinejad will compensate for this loss. He could, in theory, try to gain the support of highly disillusioned reformist voters but whether or not he can actually do this is unclear; after all, many reformists blame him for the post-election violence in Iran. Equally interesting will be to see how the SBO's political role will evolve in the months ahead and whether or not some of its leaders will occupy high offices in the next Iranian government.

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