Following the news of Mehdi Karroubi ‘recognizing’ Ahmadinejad as head of government, many are quick to label him as a traitor, or wonder why the sudden softened stance from Karroubi. Although both Khatami and Karroubi dropped their demand for a new presidential election, the reformists still maintain that the presidential election was fraudulent. According to The New York Times, Karroubi’s equally controversial and ambiguous statements have created quite a frenzy.
Mr. Karroubi’s son, Hussein Karroubi, contacted Saham News, a news service affiliated with the reform movement, to clarify that his father had not backed off any of his charges of fraud, or of protesters’ being raped and sodomized by prison staff members.
“I stand firmly by the belief that cheating took place in the election and the results were doubtful, and I believe the vote count was completely rigged,” the younger Mr. Karroubi said, quoting his father, in an interview with Saham News. “However, since Mr. Khamenei endorsed Mr. Ahmadinejad, for this very reason I consider him the president of the current government of this system.” He referred to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
What is most interesting about Karroubi’s statements is the fact that he clearly defines Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy as coming from the Supreme Leader, and not the people of Iran; Karroubi continually upholds the belief that the results of the June presidential elections were fraudulent and rigged. Beyond that, referral to Supreme Leader Khamenei as “Mr.” Khamenei, rather than the more proper title of “Ayatollah Khamenei” or “Supreme Leader Khamenei” also adds to the bold nature of Karroubi’s comments.
Perhaps this was meant as a tacit jab to Ayatollah Khamenei’s own authority. Some report that Karroubi’s use of “Mr. Khamenei” referral was not an accidental slip of the tongue, but rather meant as a deliberate insult to the Supreme Leader, citing that the comments remained unchanged on Saham News for hours.