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    IRAN's internal nuclear struggle:

    IRAN's internal nuclear struggle:

    By Gerald Internet Anthropologist Think Tank

    More than “Velvet Revolution”: The Battle Within Iran’s Intelligence Ministry

    Posted by: Scott Lucas in Middle East & Iran

    The Latest from Iran (29 July): Challenges Outside and Inside the Government

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    IRAN FLAGIn a week filled with confusions, intrigues, and confrontations within the Ahmadinejad Government, this may be the most extraordinary story of all.

    On Monday afternoon, the pro-Green Movement websiteMowj-e-Sabz announced, “Coup in the Ministry of Intelligence”. While public attention was focused on the President’s firing of his Minister of Intelligence, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejeie, there was much more happening below the headlines. Two Deputy Ministers and a number of experts — Mowj-e-Sabz claimed more than 20 — had been “forced into retirement”.

    The cause? Ministry officials had been told to compile a report, based on files and interviews of detainees, on whether the quest for a “velvet revolution” by outsiders was responsible for post-election conflict. Their investigations produced the answer: No. There was no proof that “foreign” elements had instigated the protests as part of a plan for regime change.

    It was an answer that did not satisfy President Ahmadinejad. He dismissed the Vice Ministers of Intelligence and of Counter-Intelligence. According to Mowj-e-Sabz andother press reports, established a parallel service, “Tehran Intelligence”, led by Hojatoleslam Ahmad Salek and Hojatoleslam Hossein Ta’eb, both of whom are affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.



    Showdown between Khamenei and IRGC?

    Who’s really in charge? Is there a confrontation looming between Iran’s supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guard?

    By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 28 July 2009

    [TEHRAN BUREAU] analysis Two important developments over the past few days suggest that a possible confrontation may be under way between Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, and the high command of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

    One development was the order issued by Ayatollah Khamenei overruling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appointment of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei as his First Vice President (Iran’s president has eight vice presidents). The second was the firing of ultra hardliner Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehei, the Minister of Intelligence.

    A reliable source in Tehran told the author that both episodes were meant to be signals by the IRGC’s high command to Ayatollah Khamenei that they were in control, and that he should toe the line — their line. According to the source, Ayatollah’s Khamenei’s order to fire Mashaei was delivered to the Voice and Visage (VaV) of the Islamic Republic (Iran’s national radio and television network) on the day Mashaei was appointed by Ahmadinejad. The VaV was asked to announce the order on national television and radio, but Ezzatollah Zarghami, the director of VaV and a former officer in the IRGC, refused to do so.

    As if to make sure that the Ayatollah got the message loud and clear, it took Ahmadinejad one week to relent and go along with the order. And it was only then that the VaV broadcast the Ayatollah’s order. When he did accept the order, Ahmadinejad sent the Supreme Leader a terse and very formal letter, devoid of the usual praises that his past letters to Ayatollah Khamenei have carried. The letter was considered by many supporters of the Ayatollah as a total insult; but also a clear signal. In order to further demonstrate his defiance, Ahmadinejad appointed Mashaei, a close relative and friend, as his chief of staff and special adviser.

    According to the source, Ejehei was fired because he was reporting to the Supreme Leader without first letting Ahmadinejad know. He had reportedly said that the Intelligence Ministry had concluded that the accusations by the IRGC high command, that the demonstrations after the election were linked to foreign powers and represented a “velvet revolution,” were baseless. He had also reportedly said that the demonstrations had neither been planned in advance, nor could they have been predicted. Finally, the Intelligence Ministry is said to have reported that Mashaei, as well as Hossein Taeb, a cleric who is the commander of the Basij militia, represented security risks. The report apparently countered all the accusations made by the IRGC high command.

    There is a precedent that helps support the theory that Ejehei was ousted for this reason. In the spring of 2008, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Ahmadinejad’s first Interior Minister, was also fired after he submitted a report to Ayatollah Khamenei about the elections for the 8th Majles (parliament) without Ahmadinejad’s knowledge. In that report, Pourmohammadi reported irregularities committed by Ahmadinejad’s backers. When Ahmadinejad found out about the report, he fired Pourmohammadi almost immediately.



    ANALYSIS-Iran turmoil takes new twist as hardliners fall out

    Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:23am EDT

    * Ahmadinejad alienates allies in spat with Khamenei

    * Rift with conservatives may complicate cabinet formation

    * Iran power struggle hampers decision on nuclear diplomacy

    By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

    BEIRUT, July 28 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has chosen a strange moment to cross swords with his chief patron, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    As if widespread popular unrest and the wrath of reformists over a disputed election were not enough, Ahmadinejad has alienated some of his own allies and lost two hardline cabinet members by defying Khamenei over his choice of vice president. The disarray in the hardline camp is likely to complicate Ahmadinejad's job of forming a new cabinet, risking prolonged paralysis in decision-making even as a Western deadline looms for Iran to enter substantive talks on its nuclear programme.

    Ahmadinejad, due to be sworn in by parliament next week, is already under fire from his moderate rivals, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who say any new cabinet will be illegitimate as the June 12 poll was rigged -- a charge the authorities deny.

    Part of Iran's influential Shi'ite clerical establishment based in the shrine city of Qom has also signalled misgivings over the aftermath of the poll, which has plunged Iran into its worst internal upheaval since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    "Given the crisis of legitimacy Ahmadinejad faces, not just from the apparatchiks in Tehran, but increasingly from Qom, he will face difficulty in composing a credible cabinet," said Anoush Ehteshami, an Iran expert at Britain's Durham University.

    "For the moment the strategy has to be to make the glue stick, but there will come a moment when Ahmadinejad is untenable," he said, adding this could be just months away.

    Khamenei, who endorsed the election result and sided openly with Ahmadinejad, can hardly ditch his protege now. But he reacted firmly when the president named as his deputy Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, who had previously angered hardliners by saying Iran had no quarrel with Israelis, only their government.................

    In a rare move, Khamenei ordered Ahmadinejad in an open letter to dismiss Mashaie. Instead, the president publicly defended his nominee, who is related to him by marriage, and presented him last week at a stormy cabinet meeting.

    Ahmadinejad finally dismissed Mashaie at the weekend, only to reappoint him as head of his own office. He also sacked his intelligence minister, Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, apparently for insisting Mashaie must go to conform with Khamenei's orders.

    Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi, seen as another hardliner close to Khamenei, quit over the same issue, although Ahmadinejad has not accepted his resignation.

    The supreme leader's approval is normally required for appointments to head sensitive ministries such as intelligence and culture, along with the defence and interior portfolios.

    Ahmadinejad's handling of his outgoing cabinet can only make it harder to compose a new one amidst Iran's wider crisis.

    "Clearly he has weakened his position, even with the conservatives in parliament," said Shaul Bakhash, history professor at George Mason University in Virginia.

    "He has always had this in-your-face streak toward others outside the ruling group. Now he has taken this independence a step further by almost defying the authority of the leader.".............


    "It boils down to Ahmadinejad's singleminded and volatile behaviour," he said. "If they can't control him, they will get rid of him, but not now. There would be too great an upheaval."

    Moin argued that Ahmadinejad would have to name a broad-based cabinet from beyond his own circle to gain the acceptance of conservatives, or risk a parliamentary revolt.

    Iran's ruling elite, already split and bruised by the tumult since the election, would have little appetite for a new crisis that would erupt if Ahmadinejad resigned or were forced out.

    "Even his critics within the leadership and among the conservatives would not want to generate a crisis of such proportions," Bakhash said. "It would require a new election. I imagine Khamenei would want to avoid that, almost at any cost."

    The supreme leader's own authority has already been sapped, partly by his own departure from his usual role of arbiter above the political fray. The opposition has defied his ruling that the election was valid. And now Ahmadinejad has challenged him.

    The opposition has found new energy in the last few weeks, winning support from Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and other senior clerics, after authorities quelled last month's street protests.

    The power struggle can only hamper the leadership's ability to tackle the Islamic Republic's economic problems, as well as the struggle over its nuclear programme, which Iran says is only peaceful, but which the West suspects is aimed at bomb-making.

    "I sense Washington is slowly but surely increasing the pressure. From the autumn it will become relentless," Durham University's Ehteshami said of President Barack Obama's offer to engage with Iran in return for nuclear concessions.

    "They will demand a position from Tehran by the end of September and will then give it till the end of the year to implement it. This is a very small window.".....

    Since the election revolution there have been 2 camps forming
    within the regime, The Supreme leader vs abberjonny and IRGC.

    Khamenei is drifting from his boy, abberjonny,
    and he has been trying to expand his powers.
    Abberjonny has the backing of IRGC, and their
    nuclear goal, and that team is willing to go for broke
    to get a nuke. The nuke is a messianic obsession
    for Abberjonny and IRGC.
    And there is a facet of State Suicide with in that
    group to bring on the 13th Imam.
    But USA is offering a missile shield.
    Paradigm error:
    Hillary Clinton talks about a Missile shield
    over the Middle East if Iran gets a Nuke.
    That maybe not enough.
    Zoo in Gaza, Marah, said
    "What we really want is an elephant," he said. "But a small one, so it can fit in the tunnels."
    From Egypt to Gaza.

    Its possible to move the nuke the size of a small elephant into Gaza from
    Egypt, so the question becomes one of Qods smuggling capabilities.
    Where could they smuggle a nuke to? Pick a border.
    Fishing trawlers, shipping containers are all vectors.

    The Iranian nuclear paradigm is incomplete.




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    9:14 AM  

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