TEHRAN 23rd OCT. (IPS)
As hundreds of students called for the first time publicly for the limitation of powers and a revised definition of the role of the Vali e Faqieh' or the Leader, in this case the ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the triangular Thai boxing between the regime's three main contenders, meaning the Leader, the former and the present presidents intensifies
At demonstrations organised in Tehran on Tuesday 21st October by the Union of Student's Islamic Association (USIA), speakers called for the Vali to be elected by direct, popular vote, that his powers, at present unlimited being limited and his role, at present having a divine character being clearly defined and brought to earth.
Observers noted that since the astonishing victory of the ayatollah Mohammad Khatami over his main rival, the ayatollah Ali Akbar Nateq Nuri, two months ago, there are more and more voices demanding a revision of the role and powers of the Leader.
In these elections, Mr Khatami crushed Mr Nateq Nuri, the Speaker of the Majles, or the Parliament, with more than 20 millions votes despite the fact that his rival was fully backed by the ruling clerical establishment led by the ayatollah Khameneh'i.
In the framework of present Islamic system of Iran, the Leader, or the Vali e Faqih, considered the representative of God and the prophet Mohammad, has unlimited powers. He can not be removed but on very bad health or mental conditions or if he commits flagrant anti-Islamic act.
In an interview with the Persian service of the BBC, Mr Heshmat Tabarzadi, the secretary general of the USIA suggested that in order to prevent misuse and mis-interpretation of the role and powers of the Vali, he should also be responsible to the people, that he also be elected by direct vote and for a limited period of time. "This is the best way to stop some people escape all accountability in placing themselves under the umbrella of the leader, giving this position a divine status and indulging in all kind of corruption, considering themselves above laws", Mr Tabazadi said.
Editor of the now banned "Payame Daneshjuye Basiji" (Message of the Basiji Student), Mr Tabarzadi is well known for revealing corruption at the famous Deprived Foundation (commonly known as Bonyad) as well as in some ministries like the PTT.
Reminding that the Constitution has considered 11 tasks and responsibility for the Leader, Mr Tabarzadi said the powers of the Leader must be limited to those recognised by the Constitution. He then proposed that another body should be created to supervise the work of the Leader.
Shooting back, the radical daily "Islamic Republic", which belongs to and speaks for the ayatollah Khameneh'i accused the USIA to be a "deviationist current" as it do not accept the principle of the Velayat e Faqih.
Iranian analysts say the former president, the ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani seems to be behind the "limit the leader's power" drive.
In recent appearances and speeches, Mr Rafsanjani has revealed, thought
without emphasising, that the very concept of Velayat e Faqih, or
the absolute rule of the Tutor, has been "re-interpreted" several times
since it was first defined by the ayatollah Khomeiny.
For the time being, Mr Khameneh'i continue to concentrate into his hands
the all the powers, controlling the Armed Forces, the key ministers such
as the notorious Information (Intelligence), the Parliament, the Council
of the Guardians, the Radio and Television. He also has the upper hand
on the regime's foreign policy.