Ali and the Quartet

Now, however, Khamenei himself is regarded as a factional leader. Although the current protest movement was triggered by opposition to Ahmadinejad, the president has almost faded into the background. Until last month, Khamenei had tried to stay above the fray, and limited his public appearances to half a dozen a year. In the past six weeks, however, he has made almost a dozen appearances, including a rare sermon at the Friday prayers on the Tehran University campus. Jettisoning his role as arbiter, Khamenei has become a player in a deadly game that must end with winners and losers. Not surprisingly, it is Khamenei, both as a person and as holder of the position of “Supreme Guide”, who is targeted by dissidents within the Khomeinist elite. Some of these dissidents have already fled to the West and thus feel free to attack Khamenei with no ifs and buts. Others like Rafsanjani and Khatami have not yet attacked Khamenei by name but have made it clear that they no longer regard his ruling as final on anything. Mir-Hussein Mousavi, the former prime minister and the defeated presidential candidate who claims he was robbed of victory, has tried to cultivate his own brand of ambiguity. Nevertheless, he, too, has rejected Khamenei’s ruling, thus questioning his authority as “Supreme Guide”. While the faction led by Khamenei has certainly been weakened, there is no sign that the coalition of dissident factions, led by the ” muraba’a manhous” ( the curs… >>>

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