January 21, 2007

Supreme Leader To President: You Kids Settle Down Out There

Lefty Coaster at Daily Kos writes that Khamenei overrules Ahmadinejad on Iran's Nuclear Program. Read the whole thing, it explains pretty clearly Khamenei's stated concerns about the damage Ahmadinejad's belligerence is doing to Iran's standing in the world and the potential it raises for confrontation with western nations.

Once again, with feeling, Ahmadinejad's power is centered domestically and isn't absolute. The office of the presidency isn't even a coequal branch of the Iranian government as the presidency is in the United States. It does not hold any sort of Commander in Chief power over the military, or really, any sort of final say over Iran's foreign policy. As I've pointed out previously, Ahmadinejad could be overruled on the question of whether or not to have a military parade in Tehran by the man he beat in the presidential election, Hashemi Akbar Rafsanjani, current chair of the Expediency Discernment Council.

And yes, the London Times is likely correct in noting that European governments would regard this development as significant. Anyone with the vaguest, reality-based grasp on the distribution of power in modern-day Iran, also not motivated by an unquenchable war lust, would regard it as significant. Because it is. Many questions in Iran are decided democratically (and it should be noted that the last local elections wound up rebuking Ahmadinejad's party), but the religious judiciary and the country's current religious leader have veto power over those decisions and full final authority over what could be considered the 'moral' sphere of life, as well as foreign policy.

Iranians don't call Khamenei the Supreme Leader out of some quaint custom of overblown flattery.

Posted by natasha at January 21, 2007 01:33 PM | Iran | Technorati links |