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Blogger (Now Blocked): 'Condemn' Leader's Design to Prune Presidency

19 Oct 2011 10:30Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

DaneshtalabViaDigarban.jpg10:30 a.m., 27 Mehr/October 19 Our columnist Muhammad Sahimi compiled the following news items and commentary:
Ahmadinejad and supporter oppose Khamenei

As noted by Tehran Bureau, on Sunday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hinted that the post of president may be eliminated from Iran's political system, and the post of prime minister -- dissolved in the last constitutional revision in 1989 -- revived. In the first public reaction within Iran, Mojtaba Daneshtalab, a blogger, member of Iran's Hezbollah, and ardent supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wrote that Khamenei's suggestion is "strange" and "must be completely condemned." A short time after Daneshtalab posted the entry, his blog was blocked, though not before others took note of it.

Daneshtalab wrote, "Elimination of the presidency implies an extreme fear of direct election by the people." Claiming that Khamenei is being unduly influenced by his supporters, he continued,

Ever since the differences between the Supreme Leader and the president -- who is not his hand-picked president -- were publicized, he [Khamenei] began trusting the Majles deputies, advisers, and political figures who oppose the government [of Ahmadinejad] and is now speaking strangely. The recent speech of the Leader creates a big fear among the people, the fear that a behind-the-scenes plan may happen so quickly that they cannot react in time. One must firmly tell him that because the plan takes away the people's right to directly elect [whom they want] and makes the government a political tool in the hands of politicians, it is definitely wrong, and will definitely be opposed strongly. The [fact that] the president...was elected directly by the people has created a challenge [for those who wish] to confront him.

Daneshtalab then opined that Ahmadinejad's hardline adversaries are supporters of Khamenei who want to return to a prime ministerial system,

which will be much worse than the current state. With a parliamentary system, everything will be controlled by the political parties, and independent figures will be unable to have any influence or do anything. If the issue [elimination of the presidency] is ever put to a referendum, such a historical retreat will provoke a strongly negative reaction among the people. Most people will not be satisfied to have the right to directly elect the most influential figure of the country to be in the hands of political parties and factions.

Ahmadinejad himself made it clear that he has many significant differences with Khamenei. One theme that the latter has emphasized over the years is that Iran is being invaded "culturally" by the "enemy," which he never identifies by name. In particular, in a meeting last June with members of the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, Khamenei said that the revolution in communication technology has created a complex cultural war. In a ceremony in Tehran on Monday to mark the opening of an international exhibition on digital mass media, Ahmadinejad pointedly declared, "Some people are worried by the cultural invasion. I am one of those who are not concerned. It would be really bad if I expect the youth of the year 1390 [the current Iranian year] to think like Ahmadinejad of 1350. If that is the case, our nation has not advanced for 40 years."

Claim of MKO link to assassination plot

Alef, the website published by Majles deputy Ahmad Tavakoli, claimed that the second person named in the U.S. Justice Deaprtment's indictment of the alleged culprits in the plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., is a member of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO, or MEK). According to Alef, Gholam Shakuri -- who, the website claims, has used the aliases Ali Shakuri and Gholam-Hossein Shakuri -- is a high-ranking MKO member who has used faked passports to travel to various countries over the years. One of those passports was issued on November 30, 2006, in Washington with the number K10295631. Alef asserted that its information was obtained through Interpol. The website's claims cannot be independently verified.

In related news, Ahmadinejad has sent a CD to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that includes a video recording in which Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi, who was executed by Iran, confessed that he and his terrorist group were supported by the United States. Part of the recording is actually available on YouTube. This appears to be a counteroffensive by the Islamic Republic after the United States took the issue of the assassination plot to the U.N. Security Council.

Abbas Palizdar arrested

As noted by Tehran Bureau, Abbas Palizdar, who made striking revelations in 2008 about corruption by 123 important political and clerical figures, had gone into hiding after a court sentenced him to five years of imprisonment. On Monday evening, he was arrested by special agents of the prosecutor-general to enforce his sentence. Palizdar's attorney, Mostafa Tork Hamadani, said that his client was injured by chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War and doctors have certified that he cannot be imprisoned due to his illness.

Copyright © 2011 Tehran Bureau

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