Does Khamenei Really Want an Ahmadinejad Part II?

I know I am a little late on this, but it’s great red meat as the election heats up. So, the media went wild after the speech from Khamenei on May 12 when he was in Iran’s Khordistan for 8 days. Khamenei mentioned two large issues in one speech that everyone picked up on (even Bloomberg f’Pete’s sake):

1) He made judgment (as he usually does) about the Republic’s ‘ideal’ candidate:

“I am not going to make any kind of comment about any particular person. However, there are some good indicators. The most eligible is a person who understands the country’s problems, the pains of the people, is sincere with the people, shuns corruption, and does not pursue a luxurious lifestyle.”

2) He stressed that attacking the economy in such fundamental ways should be tempered during the campaign (again, a typical pre-election comment from him):

“The last point about the elections is that the honorable candidates who have so far registered their names and have started to make statements – however the legal time for their campaign has not yet started, but they are doing so and there is no problem with it – should try to be fair and should base their statements on facts.

Sometimes, one hears things that he or she cannot believe have been mentioned by officials based on sincerity. One does not believe that such statements are being made by some candidates to achieve the position of the president.Sometimes one hears strange statements and attributions. Such statements agitate people and do not even help those who state them to become popular.

The honorable candidates should pay attention and should not destroy public mentality. Leveling accusations against this and that will destroy public trust. None of the statements I hear are true either. I know much more about the situation in the country and I know that much of what is being said about the situation in the country and the economy as a matter of criticism is not true. I know that they are making mistakes. Hopefully, they are mistaken.”

These two points brought media to make the typical/obvious/usual argument: Supreme Leader supports Ahmadinejad!!

But is this really obvious? Is this implicit comment so explicit? I disagree, and refuse to tow the common line, whether I think Ahmadinejad is Khamenei’s shill or not.

Khamenei Addressing People in Sanandaj, Kordistan

Khamenei Addressing People in Sanandaj, Kordistan

While I do not think that the supreme leader was directly supporting Ahmadinejad implicitly, I do not necessary think that he wasn’t. But below are 4 reasons I believe we should still be skeptical of the rahbar‘s “support” for Ahamdinejad, rather than believing the hype and going so far as to assume Khamenei has publicly voiced obvious support:

1) Referring to a person who “understands the country’s problems, the pains of the people, is sincere with the people, shuns corruption, and does not pursue a luxurious lifestyle” can also encompass Mousavi if you believe Mousavi should win. Mousavi is considered pious, guided the people through Iran/Iraq War, and was known to work against corruption.

2) In the end of the 1 hour 3 min speech he expressed the need to reform the consumption model, as an echo of the Nowruz speech where he expressed favor in internal economic security, turning away from the model of increasing imports. This is something Ahamdinejad did during his tenure, allowing the demand for cheaper goods to flood Iranian markets during Iran’s oil boom, which is a sign of excess and can put local business out because they can’t undercut the low-cost imports. Textiles and sugar have been hurt significantly, so bringing oil $$ ‘to the table’, as he promised, did not necessarily help.

3) Khamenei’s biggest concern is regime legitimacy and stability (he harps on it constantly). If all candidates go around complaining so drastically about the economy he must go out and defend the revolutionary regime because he is afraid a total attack on the economy may delegitimize the system rather than only Ahmadinejad’s tenure. He is tempering the candidates’ complaints, not refuting them outright, and while he says temper your criticism in general, down at the bottom he mentions the economy along with “the situation in the country”, nowhere does he say “do not talk about the economy” either implicitly or explicitly. And in fact, the candidates have continued to attack Ahmadinejad on the economy and Khamenei hasn’t mentioned it since.

4) In the 2005 election the supreme leader’s representative in the IRGC, Ayatollah Muhammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, laid down his guideline to the ranks that they must vote according to the criteria laid out by the Supreme Leader, including a simple lifestyle and modest campaign funds, an indirect rebuff of then candidates Qalibaf and Rafsanjani in favor of Ahmadinejad (reported in Baaztab, 12 Jun 05). But today, the candidates don’t provide such a wealth dichotomy since Mousavi does not live a luxurious lifestyle like Qalibaf or Rafsanjani.

Thus, it is hasty to rush to the conclusion. Is is suspect? Sure it’s suspect. Khamenei  ♥’s a homogenous Islamic system (him, judiciary, executive, etc.), but he’s also obsessed with regime legitimacy/democratic turnout and Mousavi is known for his piety. So before we believe the hype, let’s wait and see something more unequivacle.


~ by The Common Man on May 27, 2009.

One Response to “Does Khamenei Really Want an Ahmadinejad Part II?”

  1. […] Debate Continues Referring to the last piece on whether or not Khamenei truly wants Ahmadinejad again or not, the debate rolls on, even amongst principle-ist thugs within, such as the IRGC and […]

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