Paris, 20 Oct. (IPS) In a dramatic upheaval in Tehran, Mr. Ali Larijani resigned on Saturday 20 October 2007 from his important post of Secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security (SCNS) and was immediately replaced by Mr. Sa’id Jalili, a Foreign Affairs Deputy in charge of American and European affairs.
The surprise resignation came 24 hours after a verbal duel between him and the fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the context of the message and proposals Russian President Vladimir Putin gave to the Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi during a meeting on 16 October 2007 in Tehran.
The surprise resignation came 24 hours after a verbal duel between him and the fanatic President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
On 17 October, Mr. Larijani created a surprise by informing journalists that Mr. Khamenehi, the leader of the Islamic Republic who decides on all major domestic and international affairs of the regime, told his Russian guest that he would “consider” the message and proposals he suggest during the meeting.
His declaration immediately made headlines world over, with political analysts translating the announcement as a major shift in Iranian declared nuclear policy of “non return” concerning its atomic activities, allowing the crisis between Tehran and the international community getting out of impasse.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his trip to Tehran, had a special message for Iranian officials, which included the nuclear programme. The Guide told him he would consider the proposals and let him know the results afterward”, Iranian news agencies quoted Mr. Larijani as having told correspondent, adding that the Leader has also told Mr. Putin that he was "determined to provide our country's need for nuclear energy".
But twenty four hours later, Mr. Ahmadinejad rebuked the top nuclear negotiator, telling newsmen that Mr. Putin’s message was only a “one of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, which we welcomed, but it contained no mention to the nuclear problem, over which our position has not changed at all”.
“No one must get it wrong. Our nuclear policy has not changed and will not change. We have said and repeated that we shall continue with our nuclear activities and on that, we are much ahead of the Westerners”, he added.
And to add injury to the humiliation, the pro-Government press pointed out it was Mr. Ahmadinejad who was present at the meeting between the leader and Mr. Putin, not Mr. Larijani.
In order to de-dramatise the impact of Mr. Larijani’s resignation, the Government’s official spokesman, Mr. Qolamhoseyn Elham, said Mr. Larijani had previously offered his resignation on several occasions. “This time however, the President accepted his will to continue his political activities elsewhere”, and informed the press that Mr. Sa’id Jalili would replace him and meet Mr. Xavier Solana, who represents the 5+1 next Tuesday, as scheduled.
Ahmadinejad appointed his friend Sa'id Jalili as the new Secretary of the SCNS
Some Iranian insiders say one reason to Mr. Larijani’s surprise resignation can probably be Mr. Khamenehi’s displeasure at the bombshell he exploded by revealing that the leader had been conciliatory with Mr. Putin’s warnings.
“Like the former Shah, Khamenehi does not like others talking for him. There is no doubt that what Larijani reported about Putin’s message is correct, otherwise, he would never even think of giving himself such audacity. But by making public part of what had been said during that important meeting, he unwillingly prompted speculations that the mighty Khamenehi, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, the Guide of the Muslims, had bowed to the Russian President’s dictate. This is something Khamenehi can not forgive”, one insider told Iran Press Service.
Another commentary by the analysts was that “Putin’s victory in Tehran, -- where he was in fact to take part at the Summit of the Caspian Sea states – could mean a political suicide for Ahmadinejad”.
Anyhow, while for the Iranian interlocutors, the nomination of Mr. Jalili could hopefully put an end to the cacophony on Iranian side, with the SCNS, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Government speaking different languages on the nuclear issue, to the pro-Ahmadinejad media, this means “a new phase in the activation of Iranian diplomacy”.
For the West, the change (at the Iranian SCNS) is not good news.
In fact, the new SCNS Secretary and number one nuclear negotiator is a close friend of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Like him, he is a former Revolutionary Guard who lost one leg in the war against Iraq. Like Mr. Ahmadinejad, he is teaching at the prestigious Emam Sadeq University, from where he graduate with a Master on Political Sciences, and has served in the office of the Leader before entering the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“Mr. Larijani conducted his mission with brio. During his office, he was able to give the Islamic Republic the honor, pride and magnanimity it had lost to the Europeans under the previous nuclear negotiation team. However, that was not all of what Mr. Ahmadinejad wanted: That the West comes out of its ivory tower. Now, with Mr. Jalili at the helm, the key for the new phase in the activation of Iranian diplomacy had been turned”, commented the pro-Ahmadinejad internet news site “RajaNews”.
Though Mr. Larijani and Ahmadinejad started offices from the same standing point on nuclear crisis, it did not take long before the two separated: Facing the hard and harsh realities, Mr. Larijani became more realistic, while the President would continued with his drum beating, provocations, anti-Israeli statements, belittling and humiliating the West, isolated his country on the international scene and prompting sanctions by the United Nations Security Council, resolutions that he said are “nothing more than worn out, worthless papers”.
It is probably with such commentaries that Mr. Francois Heisbourg, the Chairman of the Foundation Council of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy told some French television stations that “for the West, the change (at the Iranian SCNS) is not good news”. ENDS LARIJANI RESIGN 201007