In the presidential election of June 14, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei aims to grab the whole pot: He has whipped out a dark horse contestant who is both tame – in strong contrast to the outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and also family.
debkafile’s Iranian sources name him as former Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, 68, whose daughter is married to the ayatollah’s son, Mojtaba Khamenei. He would be trusted to comply with his boss’s plan to keep the presidential seat warm for Khamenei Junior to claim unopposed in 2017.
The Iranian voter may not approve of the plan to establish a Khamenei dynasty for ruling the country. But the Leader is leaving nothing to chance.
He has placed two faithful henchmen in charge of guaranteeing the desired results at the ballot. They are Heydar Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence since 2009, and Ali Fallahian, a proven undercover expert in eliminating enemies of the regime.
The two frontrunners of last week discovered they had been dropped, our Iranian sources disclose. Senior nuclear negotiator and National Security Council head Saeed Jalili was the favorite, trailed closely by Ali Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s close adviser, the more experienced of the two in government administration. Now, the supreme leader expects them to muster their fans to bolster Haddad-Adel’s prospects of winning the election.
But first, the ayatollah took care to knock his adversaries out of the race by baldly manipulating the Guardians of the Constitution Council into disqualifying former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandyar Rahim Mashee, Ahmadinejad's own kinsman.
The US put up a weak protest over the watchdog’s disqualification of hundreds of candidates. Only eight survived – all Khamenei loyalists, barring one. The ayatollah achieved this unopposed by the simple device of conspicuously posting Revolutionary Guards units in Tehran and other strategic points Tuesday night, May 21, the night before the Council published its final list of approved candidates.
Wednesday, the guardsmen began withdrawing from the streets and by Thursday they were gone, although they kept watch vigilantly from the shadows.
By then, Ahmadinejad understood that his own in-law, Esfandyar Rahim Mashee, whom he had planned to use as the stopgap for his own “Putin exercise” in the 2017 vote, was out of the running. A hint that he could face jail or even “a road accident” helped him to decide to go quietly.
Rafsanjani, for 30 years backbone of the revolutionary Islamic regime of Iran, was also deterred from kicking up a fuss before the Iranian media by the hanging in Tehran on May 19 of two men accused of spying for the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. There were whispers of a similar fate awaiting his son and daughter for alleged financial wrongdoing.
That the new dark horse is destined to be a stopgap president is attested to by the fact that in the conduct of state affairs, he is a virtual nonentity. A political philosopher and poet who as Speaker dealt with academic and cultural matters, he has none of the qualifications required for grappling with Iran’s acute economic ills which demand urgent attention.
Mojtaba Khamenei, the Ayatollah’s son and heir, will no doubt gradually take over the reins of government behind the scenes and prepare for the smooth transfer of the presidency when the 2017 election comes around.
The June 14 election is therefore not expected to change anything in the hard-line policies driving Iran’s aspirations to become a nuclear and regional power, or its massive military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in beating down the rebellion against his rule.
Neither the United States nor Israel – or any Western government – has raised a dissenting voice against the growing repression under Khamenei autocratic rule, just as they turn a blind eye to Tehran’s crude violations of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions by shipping military units and equipment to Syria.
Before them is a resolution issued under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in which the UN Security Council barred Iran from “exporting troops, military equipment or military aid beyond its borders, and pledged to take measures against Iran in the event it is found in breach of those requirements.”