Khamenei breaks silence to put pressure on former President
UPDATE 0800 GMT: Reports are circulating that former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Bushehr Province in southern Iran, scheduled for Thursday, has been cancelled.
The Peyke Iran site says Ahmadinejad was banned from entering Bushehr by the provincial council. Women reportedly were ready to greet him with posters including “Posing as a revolutionary is not being a revolutionary”.
Video shows Ahmadinejad trying to persuade members of the Basij paramilitary: “If Khamenei has one opinion and you another, must you die then? Has Khamenei told you to stop thinking?”
ORIGINAL ENTRY: After months of an escalating fight between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s judiciary, the Supreme Leader has intervened with a coded attack on Ahmadinejad and his allies.
Speaking to officials on Wednesday in Tehran, Ayatollah Khamenei accused some individuals inside Iran of “doing the enemy’s job”, explaining that “those who hold, or used to hold, all means in the country…do not have the right to play the role of the opposition”.
Some observers initially speculated that Khamenei was referring to leaders of the opposition Green Movement — Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard — who have been held under strict house arrest since February 2011. But the Supreme Leader made clear, without naming names, that he was speaking about a group which could still speak freely inside Iran: “Today they say something and it gets a massive coverage on the British Radio and the American Radio, such approach makes the enemy happy”.
Their religion is political, instead of having religious politics, their religion is politicized.
Every child can throw stones and break windows, this is not a virtue. The virtue is if one speaks logically and justly and does not speak in order to seek power, one has to deem God witness to their deeds.
The Supreme Leader said he was “not unaware of the problems with the judiciary and the executive branches of power”, but appeared to hold them beyond Ahmadinejad’s criticism: “We do not have the right to treat everyone alike.”
While he was President from 2005 to 2013, Ahmadinejad accused the Larijani brothers — including judiciary head Sadeq, Speaker of Parliament Ali, and high-ranking judiciary official Mohammad Javad — of corruption and illegal acquisition of property. He renewed his campaign this autumn after he was convicted by Parliament’s Audit of diverting $3 billion in State fund and his associates, including former Vice President Hamid Baghaei and senior Ali Akbar Javanfekr, faced prison.
Earlier this month Ahmadinejad gave Sadeq Larijani a 48-hour ultimatum to release documents concerning his case. Within days, Baghaei was sentenced to 67 years in prison for misuse of public funds and Javanfekr was given a six-month term.
Last Friday, the Tehran Prayer leader called for arbitration to ease tensions. The effort failed as Ahmadinejad’s camp and a judiciary official accused each other of mental illness, with Baghaei comparing the judiciary spokesman to Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS and Gestapo in Nazi Germany.
Covering Up the Speech
On their English-language sites, Iranian media have avoiding any mention of Khamenei’s words on Ahmadinejad and the judiciary.
The Supreme Leader’s own site omits any mention, highlighting his blast of Washington — “By God’s Grace We Will Defeat US in All Arenas” — without including his assertion that the Ahmadinejad camp was aiding the US and its partners.
U.S. govt spends a tremendous amount of money on sowing discord among people, and takes up the wealth of rich rulers in the region. By God’s Grace— they should know— we will progress powerfully. By God’s will, we will disappoint U.S. on all arenas.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) December 27, 2017
Press TV headlines, “US Continues Support for Daesh, Other Takfiris”. IRNA chooses, “Ayatollah Khamenei: US Gov’t One of Most Corrupt Ones”. For ISNA, it’s the same headline used by the Supreme Leader’s site.
Protests in Mashhad and Other Cities Over Inflation
Video is circulating of large protests in several Iranian cities over rising prices.
Demonstrations are reported in Iran’s second city Mashhad, Neyshabur, and Kashmar, all in the northeast in Khorasan Province, and Yazd in the center. Slogans include “Death to [President] Rouhani”, “Death to the dictator”, “You took Islam as a staircase to power but left the people”, and “Don’t be scared, we are all together.”