The clerical establishment
has become so sick of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that they
will not replace him when he dies…
Iranian reformists and liberals worldwide can be forgiven for thinking
that the election and crackdown last summer strengthened the
hardliners. In the short term, they’re right: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is
still president and his opposition has gone to ground. In the long run,
though, they may have already won the battle: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is
likely to be the last all-powerful Supreme Leader of the Islamic
republic, even if the theocratic system manages to survive this tumult.
A not-so-quiet debate is now brewing inside the seminaries of Qum, Iran’s religious capital, over how to abolish the post, the velayat-e faqih, which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed when he established the Islamic republic in 1979.