Behind the scenes of iran’s power elite, things continue to cook

Arrested Protesters Released, Prisons Closed, Criticism of Ahmadinejad Increases

It is clear that there are many players and factions and that it is by no means a closed system, as it was often simplified in the past. As a kind of concession to the opposition movement, it can certainly be seen that the supreme spiritual leader Kahmenei, who has presumably shown himself to be too one-sided by his quick ousting of Ahmadinejad and the correctness of the election, at least liked to keep a prison in Tehran where participants in the protests were held. It does not meet the required standards. He obviously also wants this to be understood as a sign that "fair" Khamenei, after all, tried to push the rule of law to the fore from the very beginning. He had ordered, it was said by the National Security Council, that no injustice should be done.

Presumably, Khamenei’s close ties with Ahmadinejad have now become a burden after all, following conflicts deep into the conservative camp when the de facto president, as one might say in reference to Honduras, appointed his son-in-law Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie as first vice president. One hung up on the fact that this was unwanted, because he had spoken once of Israelis as the Iranian friends, presumably the clannishness went too far for many. Parliament is debating a bill to limit the number of vice-presidents and convert their positions to ministers in order to bring them more under parliamentary control.

On the order of Khamenei, Ahmadinejad dismissed again his son-in-law, but he remains his adviser and chief of staff. Even this does not bring peace. For example, the Islamic Engineers Society, supposedly a powerful association, warned in a letter to the president that he had gone against the will of the people and the religious leaders by making the designation. In addition, he had wanted to dismiss ministers, such as the secret service minister, who had opposed the appointment of his son-in-law as vice-president. All this has frustrated its supporters and created fractures. In fact, Ahmadinejad had rescinded the removal of two ministers, but they have now resigned themselves. Just how difficult the situation now is for the president is shown by the demand of numerous members of parliament that Ahmadinejad face a vote of confidence.

Officially, there is talk of 2200 to several thousand people arrested in the course of the protests. All but 300 are said to have been released by now. Yesterday, at least 140 more were reportedly released after a parliamentary investigative committee conducted a review of the prisons and detentions. 150 were to be put on trial because weapons had been found on them. This, too, contradicts the image of a dictatorship that is so readily cultivated. In any case, some principles of the rule of law are still functioning. It is remarkable that everything is concentrated on Tehran, because there were also bloody confrontations and numerous arrests in other cities.

Of course, Mussawi, who has become the leader of the opposition, is calling for amnesia for all those arrested during the protests, but so is Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament who belongs to the conservative camp, who occupies an important position and who from the very beginning has been involved in the protests, even if they are not very popular "progressive" The following models can be used to divide the factions of the republican politicians and electors into different groups. Their weakness is that with Musawi, Rafsanjani, Khatami, etc., they are not the only ones. the opposition is at the same time part of the power elite, whose dissenting forces do not strive for a real change of system, but only for a replacement of the leadership personnel.

However, attempts continue to be made to attribute the protests ultimately to influence from abroad and to prevent public mass events by banning them. Mussawi and Karubi, for example, had requested on Thursday that a funeral service be held for all those who were killed during the protests. However, the Ministry of the Interior has not approved this. They invoked a law that was passed when Mussawi was prime minister. After that, all demonstrations and events had to be applied for at least one week in advance. It is to be expected that at the inauguration of Ahmadinejad on 5. August will see renewed protests.

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