Saturday, December 10, 2011

Post #114 - Iranian Politics

Because the Iranian political situation has implications for US-Iran relations, it may be useful to outline some of the players and parties (though I won't guarantee that the following is up-to-the-minute; it is accurate up to about 2008):

Principleists (Fundamentalists) - Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad - president, former Ardebil mayor, little foreign policy experience, speaks for the poor/ rural people; has questioned the historicity of the holocaust

Islamic Republican Party (Jomhouri-e-Eslami) "The Green Party" - Mir-Hussein Mousavi Khameneh (E. Azerbaijan) - former foreign minister and last prime minister of Iran, president of the Academy of Fine Arts, member of the Expediency Discernment Council; name from "Musa al-Khazim" (8th Imam)

National Trust (or National Confidence) Party - chair: Mehdi Karoubi - moderate, mostly rural base of support; former speaker of majlis, former member of EDC; former secy-gen., ACC [see next]...

Association of Combatant Clerics (Reformers) - Mohammad Khatami - chairman of the central council; former minister of culture and president before Ahmadinezhad; from Yazd, degree in philosophy;; known for his proposal of a Dialogue Among Civilizations (adopted by the UN) - supporter of Mousavi

Ayatollah Ali Hoseyni Khamenei - current Supreme Leader (since 1989); former president ('81-'89); father from Azerbaijan, mother from Yazd; close ties to the armed forces, including the Revolutionary Guard Corps -- many do not regard him as a Grand Ayatollah. In 2007, a group of former reformist lawmakers appealed to the Assembly of Experts to investigate Khamenei's qualification to rule in an unprecedented challenge to the country's most powerful man over the post-election crackdown, then a group of clerics (unknown) asked him to resign

Sadegh Larijani - appointed head of the judiciary; only one on the Guardian Council to vote against endorsement of Ahmadinezhad as a candidate; immediately freed some prisoners, sacked prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi (called "the butcher of the press"; who is now the deputy prosecutor of Iran); appointed a 3-person committee to investigate post-election abuses by security forces (may also investigate conduct of judges and prosecutors including Mortazavi. Mortazavi was made a deputy to prosecutor-general Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, a prominent conservative & former intelligence minister who opposed the ongoing Tehran trials against dissidents and declined to link the recent unrest in Iran to a foreign plot (opposing Ahmadinezhad).

brother, Ali Larijani - majlis [parliament] speaker, former nuclear negotiator - congratulated Mousavi election night 2009; majlis may vote "no-confidence" in some new Ahmadinezhad appointees to his cabinet (requires 50% vote)

Ali Motahhari (the son of Ayatollah Motahhari), influential and outspoken Principalist member of the Parliament, responded to Ahmadinejad's call for the prosecution of the leaders of the post-election unrest by demanding that if Mousavi is to be tried then Ahmadinejad must also be tried for his conduct in the election including in the debate with Mousavi.

Akbar Hashami Rafsanjani - centrist (pragmatic conservative) president (prior to Khatami); chairman of the Assembly of Experts; former head of parliament; businessman, writer - accused of corruption - supporter of Ansar-e Hizbullah, or "Helpers of the Party of God" -- a semi-official, paramilitary group formed in 1995 (most are veterans of the I-I War) -- has been compared to the Red Guard in Maoist China; name from town of Rafanjan.

Hossein Shariatmadari, tortured by the Shah's interrogators; editor-in-chief of Keyhan; conservative and close to A. and Kh., called for prosecution of the opposition candidates, but may have lost his "protection bubble"; Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi - squelched rumors election night that he had congratulated A.; Ayatollah Ali Montazeri said Iran now is "neither Islamic, nor a republic"; Saeed Hajarian, strategist of the reform movement, was made to confess in open court

Other Parties:
Clean Iran Party, Iranian National Front, Iran Nation's Party, Iran Party, Islamic Iran Participation Front, Marze Por Gohar Party, Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran, Komeleh, People of Balouchestan, Pan Iranist Party, Organization of Iranian People's Fedaii Guerillas

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