The great Iranian mystic Roumi has a poem about an elephant surrounded by a number of blind men in a dark room. Each blind man touches one part of the elephant and describes it accordingly. To one, the elephant is a pillar. To another, it is a table-cloth.
As Iranians follow the current political debate in Tehran, some are bound to recall Roumi’s poem as a description of what is going on within the narrow confines of the Khomeinist establishment. For the debate is about the nature of the regime created by the mullahs over 30 years ago. In this case, the elephant is the constitution of the Khomeinist republic .The difference is that this time we are faced not with blind men but men who have blindfolded themselves.
The debate was kick-started by the Speaker of the Majlis, Iran’s ersatz parliament, Ali Ardeshir, also known as Larijani.
In a veiled attack on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month, he claimed that the Khomeinist system was a parliamentary system in which the Majlis was ‘ at the head of affairs.’ The subtext was that the president was no more than a prime minister in charge of carrying out policies initiated and approved by the Majlis.