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Iran Has A Date With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

By: Meir Javedanfar


Its official. 12th of June 2009 has been chosen as the date for Iran’s next presidential elections. Although it has not been declared officially, president Ahmadinejad , almost without doubt is going to be running as a candidate.

What concerns many, especially Ahmadinejad’s competitors is that the contest is over before it has even began. Why?

Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, during a sermon told Ahmadinejad that he should plan for another term: “In other words, imagine that in addition to this year, another four years will be under your management. Work with this in mind; act and plan accordingly”, said Khamenei.

When the Supreme Leader of Iran makes such a statement, many see it as a seal of approval for the president. Since Khamenei was responsible for allowing cheating in Ahmadinejad’s favor in the 2005 elections, with a statement like this, many are convinced that next year’s presidential elections are a foregone conclusion.

However, upon closer inspection of the political history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, one can see that there is still everything to fight for. Khamenei has gone against his promises before. This was shown in 1996 when he openly stated that he backed Nateq Nouri’s ambitions to become president. Instead his arch rival, Khatami won. That could not have happened without Khamenei’s consent.

Although chances of Ahmadinejad being reelected have substantially increased because of this statement, we must not forget that there are 10 months before the presidential reelections. 10 months in Iranian politics is equivalent to 10 years in Swedish politics, in terms of movement.

A lot can happen by then. Khamenei will sit and watch Ahmadinejad’s performance, and the falling oil prices. If Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf or Ali Larijani, who for now are the most popular alternatives can offer themselves as better choices, either of them will replace Ahmadinejad, no matter what the Supreme Leader told him. Ayatollah Khamenei is only truly loyal to one person: himself.

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Posted on : Sep 07 2008
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