Don’t Count Iran’s Ahmadinejad Out Yet

Don’t Count Iran’s Ahmadinejad Out Yet

Predictions of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's fall from power have been frequent among Western observers. On this view, events involving two American hikers jailed in Tehran are seen as the latest display of Ahmadinejad's political impotence in the face of clerical power. But, despite the predictions, and as a few observers outside Iran ha ve realized, Ahmadinejad's political demise is far from imminent.

The president and his appointees have been portrayed as diminished and defeated, and as about to resign or be sacrificed as scapegoats. Some analysts have speculated Ahmadinejad will be arrested on charges of treason for imprudently opposing the mullahs' system of velayat-e faqih, or governance by the Islamic jurist.

Likewise, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei now is presented in Western policy writings as an extremely adept and all-powerful supreme leader who has prevailed yet again over challengers. The supreme leader has been proclaimed victorious, having supposedly overwhelmed an insubordinate president. The unelected head of Iran's oppressive fundamentalist state has even been presented as a source of stability and consistency, one whose presence is a lesser evil.

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