Another ceremony, another stage decorated with the Islamic republic’s flag, a long line of yellow daffodils and photos of martyrs of the revolution. One chief of justice, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, one speaker of the parliament, Ali Larijani, and one man who claims to be the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, taking the oath of office to be “at the service of the people”.
Iranians have seen hundreds of these faked ceremonies, and yet, 30 years on from the revolution of 1979, this was probably the one they least believed. It might have been an easy ceremony to perform but, this time, it was very difficult to make it convincing.
Ahmadinejad’s position is increasingly challenging. According to the constitution he has to present his cabinet to the parliament two weeks after being sworn in. Yet only last week he caused a serious crisis just by mentioning his choice of vice-president, Esfandyar Rahim Mashaei. The supreme leader disagreed and 205 members of parliament wrote a letter questioning his wisdom. He then removed the man from that post only to put him back as his chief of staff – inviting yet another barrage of criticism.