Paris, 19 Sept. (IPS) Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad is a fanatic, he is not coherent, he is encircled by a bunch of people who do not grasp the responsibilities they are in charge, he is rude, often impolite with his subordinates, vulgar, excessive in language, an economic catastrophe and bad manager. Some describes him as “stubborn”, “unpredictable”, “instable” etc..
Yet, since the creation of the Islamic Republic thirty years ago, he has proved to be the strongest president ever, even stronger than was Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, considered as the virtual number two man of the regime, or Hojjatoleslalm Mohammad Khatami, the moderate and reform seeking president, certainly the most popular of presidents at home and the most respected outside.
Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, ahmadi Nezhad has proved to be the strongest president ever.
Though in the past he has resisted on several occasions the temptation of retreat in front of pressures coming from people “in high political or religious places” concerning certain subjects, situations or persons not pleasing them, but his defence of one of his deputies, namely Mr. Esfandiar Rahim Mosha’i, who is the centre of unprecedented pressures from all parts, including the Majles, radical media and even some senior clerics, is astonishing.
“We do respect all great maraje’ (sources of imitation, or grand ayatollahs), but everyone must understand that the Government has its policies, regardless of what others may think, including some of the maraje’. What Mr. Rahim Mosha’i has said is the word of the Government. Yes, we are friends with all people, but certainly not the Israel regime or the population of that criminal, illegal regime”, he reiterated on Thursday, in the course of a press conference, referring to the controversy surrounding the vice-President in charge of Tourism and Cultural Heritage.
Mr. Rahim Mosha’i is accused of a “sin” that in Iran of the ayatollahs is synonymous for heresy: That of having dared to say that “Iranians are friends of Israel people”.
“Iranians are proud to have no enemy. Proud of being friends with all people in the world, including the Americans and the Israelis”, the vice-President, -- who’s daughter is married to the son of Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad -- said two months ago during a conference on tourism.
It took two days before the unprecedented statement produces its impact. Seeing no reaction coming from Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, the man known for his harsh outbursts against Israel, the regime he wants to “wipe off from the map of the world” and the Israelis, considered as “usurpers”, “criminals”, “butchers of the innocent Palestinian people”, pro-Government newspapers and sites suggested that since Mr. Rahim Mosha’i might have committed a “mistake”, he should apologize and explain.
Mr. Esfandiar Rahim Mosha'i created controversy by stating that "Iranian people is friendly with the American and Israeli people".
But their chagrin, the suggestions were not heard. The President said nothing, did not intervened, did not dismissed the culprit, who, few days latter, provoked the fury of the hard liners from both the right and the left by reiterating and “repeating one thousands times that Iranians are proud of being friends of the Israeli and American peoples”.
This was a drop too much. While about 200 MMs (members of the Majles, or the Iranian Parliament), including the Speaker, Mr. Ali Larijani, signed a petition urging the President to dismiss Mr. Rahim Mosha’i, three senior clerics in the city of Qom, considered the Vatican of the Shi’ism, issued declarations describing the vice-President’s declarations as “absolutely against the principles and policies of the Islamic Republic as laid down by Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution”.
Radical press was not in rest. In an editorial, Mr. Hosseyn Shari’atmadari, an intelligence officer appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i as Editor in Chief of the hard line daily Keyhan observed that by not dismissing Mr. Rahim Mosha’I, the President is jeopardizing his chances in the next presidential elections.
“Maybe Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad has not valued properly the importance of the issue. Maybe he did not realized that being the animosity with the illegal, fabricated Zionist regime is a matter of sacred principle. By continuing to close his eyes, the President commits a very great mistake. It’s time for him to correct path and dismiss Mr. Rahim Mosha’i before it is too late”, Mr. Shari’atmadari urged in the article, expecting Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad to “obey”, knowing that the author is an advisor to the leader and reflects his views.
But even this “friendly advise and warning” from someone who has always backed the President,
the “supplications” from his entourage, the strong statements from top religious men did not deterred Ahmadi Nezhad from backing the embattled Rahim Mosha’i.
But all the “supplications” from his entourage, the strong statements from top religious men, the crtitics of the press did not impressed Ahmadi Nezhad.
To many Iranian observers the “audacity” of the President, his stubborn attitude in standing firm to the pressures, mostly those coming from the religious circles comes from the firm backing and protection provided to him, his men and his policies by Mr. Khameneh’i, the most powerful man of the theocratic system of Iran.
In fact, in the speech he pronounced on Friday during the traditional Friday prayers, Ayatollah Khameneh’i, who is the official Friday imam of the Capital, once again supported the President, including the controversy surrounding his deputy.
“It is absolutely wrong to say that Iranian people if friend of the Israeli people. We have no problem with the Jews, the Christians, or the followers of other religions, but we are definitely not friends with the Israeli people, who are the instruments of the Zionists and the usurpers of the Palestinian’s homes, nations and belongings. However, unabated reactions to wrong statements about the Israeli people are worthless and provocative. Those statements are now finished and one must not go after such small, meaningless and void questions and continue talking about them”, the leader said ambiguously, putting an end to the controversy.
By giving continued backing to the President, Ayatollah Khameneh'i had weakened his "divine" position
But this systematic protection of the President has itself opened a by proxy fight between the critics of the President and the very person of the leader: The more he supports the unpopular President, his Government and his handling of the current affairs of the nation, the more virulent the criticism against Mr. Ahmadi Nezhad, and the weaker the position of Mr. Khameneh’i, who, as the representative of God on earth and surfing above all laws and the Constitution, can not be attacked directly. ENDS AHMADI 20908