Scott Lucas, over at Enduring America, has had superb coverage of the internal political disputes going on in Iran, and today is no exception.
Back to top
Today is turning into a contest of two statements and, in contrast to recent days, Western media are eagerly on top of the story. Former President Khatami’s statement to reformist leaders is being juxtaposed with current President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Friday prayers.
While there are a complex range of issues in this battle, from the legal issues of detentions/confessions/trials to the institutional challenges of who controls Iran’s bureaucracy and security forces to the political showdown over Ahmadinejad’s legitimacy, it is this sentence from Khatami that may represent the moment: “‘The sacred Friday prayer podium has been given to those who…call for the punishment of prominent figures…while they are accused in the eyes of the public for committing treason themselves.”
Even though Khatami was probably referring to Friday prayers past and addresses delivered by “hard-line” clerics such as Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami and Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, that sentence will be set next to Ahmadinejad’s none-too-subtle call for the arrests of protest leaders.
To put an immediate question: 48 hours after trying to avert a showdown with his own statement, the Supreme Leader finds the confrontation ratcheted up several notches. What does Khamenei do now?