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The War of the Ayatollahs

26 Jun 2009 01:4620 Comments

6a00d8341c630a53ef011570ee0737970b-320wiBy HANA H. in Tehran | 25 June 2009

[TEHRAN BUREAU] The fact that there is a war going on between "two senior revolutionary clerics" is not a big secret. The cat was out of the bag when right after one of the election debates one of the two bunched up his robes and headed to Qom to lobby the ayatollahs there.

While no one really knows what happened in Qom, there has been speculation that cleric #2 has tried to unseat cleric #1 and for this, he desperately needs the support of the god squad.

Rumor has it that #2 has approached one of the top sources of emulation in the Shia world to allegedly garner support for his cause, which does not seem all that clear as he has not officially taken a stance on it.

One privilege of being in the same profession is that one usually knows all there is to know about others moving in the same circles and when at war, this information can be used as leverage as this is what appeared to have happened last Friday.

Cleric #1 addressed the nation, issued threats and offered incentives. Mysteriously hinted at the things he knew and would tell all if things did not quiet down. Dangled the good old carrot and brought down the stick. His words however appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

This Friday cleric #2, who has so far kept silent in appearance and not flinched even after his family members were arrested to perhaps get a reaction out of him, was the person who was supposed to take the pulpit.

Every one anticipated his speech as it could have been detrimental, he could have chosen to raise the white flag or declared war and even made counter threats. However it does not seem like he will be given the chance as the one addressing the nation this week will be another cleric who is in cleric #1's team.

The god squad in Qom which had waited out the turmoil to see who was more likely to come out of the ring a winner before deciding which side to support has slowly begun to realize #1 has more pull and now one by one they are coming forth calling for an end to the dispute.

The crisis in Tehran is beyond the defeated candidate and the winner of the race as both are puppets in the game.

The defeated candidate keeps blowing 'hot and cold.' One day he urges people to calm and the next he tells them to protest and says that he is ready for martyrdom; one day he urgently tweets that he wants people to join him in front of Parliament and the next he issues a denial saying he never tweeted this.

He asked people to join him in Tehran's cemetery on Thursday for mourning. Gathering in Tehran cemetery is of great importance, as it is what happened when the founder of the Islamic Republic returned to the country. It was the speech he delivered at the cemetery where the martyrs of the revolution had been laid to rest that changed the future of Iran.

The puppeteers of this show knew that such a gathering taking place would mean giving legitimacy to the cause of the defeated candidates. What could have turned into a bloody confrontation was called off by organizers.

The winner of the race appears to be assured of where he stands as there have been no statements coming from his direction. The streets of Tehran look more like the streets of Baghdad with checkpoints set up throughout the capital and IRGC uniformed men patrolling the streets and stopping people at whim.

Fewer and fewer people seem to be coming out and protests seem to have lost their momentum. After dark, the sound of Allah o Akbar still resonates through the night followed by gunshots to frighten people.

They even say that certain people go around and spray paint the doors of homes where the sound of Allah o Akbar comes from so that they can arrest people the next day. Maybe even to scare them into thinking that someone is on to them and they could be arrested at any moment.

People seem to have lost their hope and to have realized that the change they were looking for will never come. They seem to have accepted that they have no power to assert their rights and justice is deaf, dumb and blind.

The winner of the Ayatollah wars has proven his point and taught everyone a lesson.

Copyright (c) 2009 Tehran Bureau

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20 Comments

If this winds up being true then the tear I just shed is for those who feel life in suffering is better than dying for their voices to be heard...


"Cowards die many times before their deaths, The valiant never taste of death but once." William Shakespeare

Matt / June 25, 2009 10:15 PM

The people's revolt isn't over until they lose hope. While this article sure ends rather hopeless, please read this one: http://tehranbureau.com/frontline/ and the comments.


Don't give up!

Anonymous / June 25, 2009 10:34 PM

this article is hard to figure out. it makes it sound like the conflict in Iran turns on whether one rally is held, or who speaks at one event. the details of what happens today or tomorrow are simply that, details, that will be lost in history. what will not be lost in history is the memory of June 20th, Neda and Khamenei and Ahmadi's massive miscalculation and overreaction.

helen / June 25, 2009 10:39 PM

Hope can not be killed when it is the true will of the people to change their current situation, and an uprising without the use of arms takes time. The movement has periods of remission as well as periods of great action. The current movement in Iran is far from over, a bullet can kill a person but it can't kill an idea. It may be 6 months, maybe a year or even 5 years but the people of Iran spoke up and they can not be silenced now.

Chris / June 25, 2009 11:20 PM

?????The winner of the Ayatollah wars has proven his point and taught everyone a lesson?????????????

People of Iran have not lost there hope (see my twits : pendareneek). They know that they are onder sutch A high suppression and they know now thatthere is only ony way to win there fight to count on there own power and support and not sit and hoping for any support of Mafiosi Mollas Ayatillas or any one from outside onder this high satanic pressure so they need to find diffrent ways to fight even the first revolusion took more than 1 year so please stop to put sutch A pessimistic end conclusion people of Iran needed 10 days so understand taht they have to count on them selves and that is very positive at the end of your article and please start to face that one positive thing has happend In Iran the last 10 days: that nobody will ever believe in Islamic justice anymore and at list inside and outside Iran every body was and still is able to witness that.

thanks and take good care ,


Pendare Neek Holland

Pendare Neek / June 26, 2009 2:17 AM

I thought Tehran Bureau is in Newton, MA? Why do you have to post something like this? It reads like something written by a member of the regime. Pointing to lack of support from Mousavi and Karroubi, when that's simply not true. And saying people are not coming out, shouts of Allaho Akbar have gotten weak, also NOT TRUE. And in general, undermining the movement by announcing it near death. Revolution takes time. Its a marathon not a sprint. It needs support in order to flourish, not to announced dead while its still breathing. Posting this kind of garbage is just the energy draining, discouraging thing "Cleric #1" wants! If you don't want to follow, don't. If you have lost your motivation, fine. But don't try and bring the rest of us down with you. We believe. We believe in the people who are going out every day, and videos of Wednesday show that there were hundreds, if not thousands of them. Videos of night time chants show that the sounds of Allaho Akbar are louder and becoming more ferocious and demanding even still. We need encouragement and unity, not this kind of discouraging, divisive propaganda.

Paris Haydar / June 26, 2009 4:59 AM

Hi baby girl... beautiful as always....

thank you... for giving such a beautiful voice to what is so important for so many of us....

RM / June 26, 2009 5:21 AM

This is so sad.

Sara / June 26, 2009 7:03 AM

The dictators have won.

mark / June 26, 2009 7:21 AM

The people of Iran are fighting for democracy and freedom for more than 100 years. You really think they depend on an akhund or mollah to suceed? Even if it will take us decades the people of Iran WILL BE FREE!!!!!!!!!!


Zende bad azadi!!!!

Kurosh / June 26, 2009 9:34 AM

The people fighting in the street are tools of imperalists america. america started this and all the traitors out there should be arrested although I don't think they should be put to death because this whole thing is america's fault. Ahmadinejad won this election and america could not stand that so they interferred. Death to america! Think of a world without america! I hope that is coming soon and I hope the traitors in the street will understand the error of their ways and embrace the true leader of Iran, Ahamadinejad.

Radical Guy / June 26, 2009 11:17 AM

The only way forward is to work toward a general strike. It is much harder for the authorities to shoot it down, and it could start with a mass "calling-in-sick" and not going to work, to build up confidence without the risk of being beaten or killed on the street.

Sh G / June 26, 2009 11:39 AM

the people's will does not depend on what a bunch of 'akhund or mollah' kurosh but the reality is that they are the people controlling Iran. I pray for the day that Iran will be able to determine its future too

hessam / June 26, 2009 11:43 AM

One ayatollah cannot save Iranians from another. Even Mousavi who wanted change within the system have proven ineffective. Iran is entering final phase: Go secular, Get rid of the whole gang of Islamists. Will of the people will prevail. It is a metter of time. Iran was the first in region fo all movements (other countries in the region had followed next) and still will lead:


1. First country to do constitutional revolution.

2. First country to modernize and set aside Islamic fanatism.

3. First country to nationalizte its oil.

4. First country to to have movement against dictatorship (unfortunately to see it stolen by mullahs and turned it to non-sense Islamic Revolution)

5. First country trying to cut off the hand of mullahs and politocal Islam and establish a true secular democracy.

Arash Parsi / June 26, 2009 2:07 PM

Hate to say it but I believe the majority of this article is right. I'd very much like to believe that the students in Tehran and Mousavi supporters have a huge amount of leverage over the regime and the economy... but they don't. The Revolutionary Guard controls most critical sectors of the economy. The regular citizens supporting Mousavi are generally marginalized economically, hence part of the reason why they're protesting. Also a general strike can be easily survived by the regime. These protests basically serve as a political football by the mullahs and nothing more.


Fortunately, I'm not as pessimistic about the outcome as this article suggests. Not only are all the Sunni Muslim governments eagerly broadcasting tons of coverage of Revolutionary Guard brutality all over news channels and all across the middle east (which will be a huge blow to Iran's goals in the region), it seems there may be a "Round 2" of this war. Khameni is (reportedly) sick or ailing. He wants to install his son as the next supreme leader. Khameni has been strong-arming his opposition for years now and it is even believed he went so far as to poison Ayatollah Khomeni's son for his own political purposes. Ahmedinejad's re-election seems to be just the beginning. Expect a Round 2 when Khameni dies or tries to install his son. A ultra-conservative successor won't take office without a fight.

Bob / June 26, 2009 2:54 PM

Very negative, drawing a conclusion very quickly. It ain't over. This is just the beginning

miao miao / June 26, 2009 10:32 PM

The clerics of Qom have not yet approved the election

2/3 of the members of Iran's parliament opted to miss Ahmadinejad's "victory" party

Larajani, powerful and well connected speaker of Parliament, has indicated doubt at election results

Khameini indicated he would speak at Friday prayers yesterday, then suddenly was a no show

Moussavi is still defiant and bold


This is not over.


"Ultimately, people will look back at this moment in Iran's history and see that it was the government that showed more fear than the people."

helen / June 27, 2009 11:01 AM

No. Two simple and crude an explanation.

Khameni and Motjaba and Nejad are in a box...if they are not brutal enough they cannot make the dissent go away, it they are too brutal they lose Qom. The Green Wave is using the same techniques that overthrew the tyrant Shah in 1979. That must be very frightening for them.

Rafsanjani will be quiet until he is ready, Mousavi also. Mousavi will feint and parry, to keep the Green Wave in the news but not draw down Tianaman on the Sea of Green. Look for an event on the 40 day mourning for Neda Agha Sultan's martyrdom.

Rafsanjani has met with with Sayeed Ali al Sistani's representative in Iran. What if what Rafsanjai has planned is the Council of Three, and the Grand Ayatollah of all the shi'ia becomes one of the three?

There are plans within plans and wheels within wheels.


In a fight between al-Islam and the thugocracy of Khameni who will win in the end?

Khameni and Nejad have chosen the tribe of Thamud.

Like the romans and the Shah chose Thamud.

In the end the christians beat the romans, and even stole their name. The Roman Catholic church is mighty still...the romans and their empire are dust.


They called him liar

and hamstrung her for the slaughter

Then their lord rumbled down upon them

for their crime and wiped them away

with no fear of what came after


Ya Haqq!

matoko / June 27, 2009 8:29 PM

If you want to speak to a broader American audience, naming the clerics instead of referring to them cryptically would help us non-Iranians follow your analysis more easily.

Richard Kadas / June 29, 2009 10:33 AM

I agree that this is a rather defeatist article, abstract too, as if written without the sense of community and common disgust expressed by hundreds of thousands together in the streets of Tehran. Those who were there know that that commonality and active desire for change will not die so quickly.


Furthermore, note the complete rejection of Ahmadi by nearly all major religious figures in Qom.


Number One hasn't taught anyone a lesson other than that he's gotta go (most of us knew that already).

Kermali / July 4, 2009 2:39 PM