LA HERRADURA (SPAIN), 16 Nov. (IPS) Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic acknowledged that the man he firmly backed for presidency is under mounting pressures both at home and abroad, due principally to his lack of experience.
Speaking on Sunday 14 November to the Friday preachers form all over the country, Mr. Khameneh’i advised the nation not to be too demanding from Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad and ordered the hard liners to back the Government and the President instead of criticizing them.
"The government must be supported," Khameneh’i urged the nation.
"The government must be supported," Khameneh’i told the gathering, adding that the president must be given more time and supported so that he can accomplish his tasks”.
Iranian political observers said this was the first time that the leader intervened personally and strongly in public in support of the embattled President, a 49 years old Shi’a Muslim who was elected to presidency last August thanks to behind the scene endorsement from Mr. Khameneh’i, resulting in a massive mobilization of the ayatollahs Praetorian Guard, to which belonged Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad and several of his ministers.
“It seems that Mr. Khameneh’i felt it was necessary for him to come to the rescue of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, after the press talked of rumors that hard liners in the conservatives-controlled Majles, or the Iranian Parliament, were looking to legal and constitutional ways and means to impeach the President”, a political commentator in Tehran told Iran Press Service, asking for anonymity.
On two occasions, the Majles refused to endorse four of the 18 ministers Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad presented, including two important portfolios of Oil and National Education. The two others were those of welfare and cooperatives.
The repeated vote of no confidence to the men considered for the Oil Ministry was very significant, given the fact that both are known to be close friends of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad when he was in charge of Tehran Municipality.
Lawmakers said their decision was not against the President, but due to the lack of any experience in running important functions.
But Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, roared to victory on a populist platform promising economic reform and financial equality for Iran's poor, hit back, complaining of being victimized by those "economic profiteers" he had vowed to purge.
“I have a list of people who have sucked the blood of the nation and wanted to publish it, but friends urged me no to go ahead”, he was reported as having told a group of MMs (Members of the Majles).
“The most important necessity at this time is the preservation of unity and vigilance; preservation of revolutionary spirit and values”, Mr. Khameneh’i said, describing the Government of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad as the “emanation of the people’s aspirations towards revolutionary slogans, a Government that is blessed and full of energy”.
Urging the critics to give “more time” to the President, the leader regretted that while the present Government is in office since only two months and half, yet it faces a barrage of demands and expectations that would surface six months or even one year after the passed governments would start working. “This is unjust, as are some of the articles and criticism of the press against the new Government”, stressed Mr. Khameneh’i, who has the final word on all important issues of the State.
At the same time, the leader warned Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad of not trying to repeat mistakes made during the first years of the Islamic Revolution and avoid creating tensions.
Contrary to other presidents, Ahmadi Nezhad has had no “grace period”: Internationally, his presidency started with a sudden chill in otherwise warm relations that existed between former president’s nuclear negotiators with their European counterparts from Britain, France and Germany, angry at Iran’s decision to resume activities at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) situated near the central city of Esfahan.
"Today, the situation is such that many revolutionary forces fears being isolated", warned Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani.
As nuclear talks were suspended, the new President calmed down the crisis by announcing that he has devised an “initiative” aimed at solving the dispute, but when he appeared at the last United Nations General Assembly, he badly deceived the international audience, displaying his total lack of international politics.
The former Revolutionary Guard then aggravated his case after he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map", a remark that immediately created international condemnation as well as from some moderate personalities like the former president Mohammad Khatami who, in response to Ahmadi Nezhad’s call for the destruction of the Jewish State said “we are not mandated to turn the whole world to our taste and make declaration that creates problems for us in the world”.
Khatami also hit out at Iranian extremists he said gave "enemies the best excuse to attack Islam and Iran".
The Iranian Foreign Ministry as well as Ayatollah Khameneh’i tried to soften the anti-Israel remarks, assuring the world that the President’s remarks have been a repetition of a statement made decades before by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini and that Iran intended no violence against any other nation.
But the damage was made and as a result, UN’s General Secretary Kofi Annan cancelled sine die a visit to Iran he was due last week in the one hand and Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad preferred not to go to Tunisia attending the UN’s sponsored forum of Communication.
"No government during its first two months in office has had to face up to such negative propaganda from inside and outside the country", Ahmadi Nezhad complained last week after his second oil ministry nominee was rejected by parliament.
Nevertheless, his actions have caused consternation in segments of the Iranian public. According to some press report, as the Tehran market was collapsing, billions of US Dollars fled Iran for Dubai, where about 2000 new businesses have been established in the past four months.
The unprecedented action of the leader demonstrates the growing divisions within Iran's right-wing camp, the very same one that during the last presidential race, actively backed Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad against his better known challenger, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
As cracks begin to show in Iran's Islamic leadership, confusion reigns at the very heart of the clerical establishment about how to deal with Ahmadi Nezhad, who’s nationalistic arrogance, deliberate presenting a smooth face to the world.
Presidential runner-up Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who went back to his old job as head of Iran's intra-governmental Expediency Council, has quietly moved to relieve Mr Ahmadinejad of his foreign policy and diplomatic duties.
A government made of unexperienced ministers with military backgrounds, sudden calling back of 40 ambassadors described as “moderates”, a series of declarations on the economic front and above all, his threats against Israel has created a large front that includes all reformist factions as well as some pragmatic conservatives led by Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Addressing the same gathering of the Friday preachers, Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani warned against “deeds and declarations that harm the national unity” and added that “because of divisions, the assault of the enemies of our system has become more dangerous”.
“Today, the situation is such that many revolutionary forces fears being isolated, if this trends continues, no doubt that they would react”, he warned, in a clear reference to Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad’s “purges”.
“The fact is that the situation has got so bad that even a bold intervention by Mr. Khameneh’I can not save Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, now facing a difficult choice between moderation or confrontation”, commented the independent news site “Roshangari”. ENDS AHMADI EMBATTLED 161105