In his Eid el Fitr sermon of Oct. 24, Iran’s spiritual ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reproved the candidates running for election to the 87-strong “Experts Council” for their unbridled smearing of rival contenders.
He warned them that their malignant rhetoric would turn the electorate against the regime and drive millions of voters away from the polling stations on December 15.
Addressing a mass audience in the Great Mosque in southern Tehran, the supreme ruler had this to say: It is forbidden to blacken electoral candidates with slanderous accusations about their past. Such words repulse the voting public and are detrimental to the regime’s wellbeing. Khamenei underlined the tremendous importance of the Council of Experts as the key to the orderly functioning of government “at a time when leaders may vanish from the scene for any reason.”
In view of this key function, the election campaign for the Council of Experts is described by DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Iran experts as heating up for a knock-down fight between the former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsani‘s faction, which offers a traditionally conservative form of leadership, and the adherents of the fiery Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s mentor.
This ayatollah, like his disciple, is driving his government with all his might to build a nuclear bomb and warheads.
For this arch-radical group, the sky is the limit: they will be satisfied with nothing less than total domination of all Iran’s state institutions.
The smear campaign which drew Khamenei’s wrath is one-sided. On Oct. 23, Khamenei had the president on the carpet for bad-mouthing the Rafsanjani family, which Forbes Magazine once described as being raised by the 1979 Islamic Revolution from modest pistachio farmers to one of the “Millionaire Mullahs.”
In previous DNW editions, our Iranian sources reported that Ahmadinejad’s hard-line faction plans to take over one state institution after another.
Well, it turns out that they are now moving in on the Experts Council after capturing the presidency, majority control of parliament – the Majlis and the judiciary, which is dominated by hardline Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi.
Iran‘s radicals set to seize the last government outpost
The president and his teacher lead a wild-eyed flock. It consists of heads of the fanatical Revolutionary Guards high command, led by Yahay Rahim Safavi, ex-commanders of the RC awarded positions of influence, like Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi and Mohammad Baqer Zolghadr, respectively minister and deputy minister of the interior.
This group is rounded off by a clutch of hyper-extremist clerics, who aspire to spread the Islamic revolution by bombing every country in the world into submission to expedite the coming of the Shiite messiah or Mahdi, known in Iran as Emam-e Zaman.
This group is headed by Ahmadinejad’s spiritual guide, Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mezba Yazdi.
Khamenei was moved to rebuke the president by a scurrilous press campaign run in the Iranian religious center of Qom. It accuses members of the Rafsanjani family of financial wrongdoing. His sons are said in one report to have taken $40 m in kickbacks from the Norwegian Satoil company for an oil concession in Iran. In the end, the company lost the tender and was heavily fined by a court in Oslo for handing out bribes.
Other reports engineered by the president’s henchmen in Qom held that Rafsanjani and his sons own aviation, transport, import-export, communications and building monopolies.
At first, these accusations discouraged Rafsanjani from running for election to the Council of Experts. But at the last moment, before the list of candidates was closed last week, he came around and put his name down.
Rafsanjani is still licking the wounds he suffered at the same hands using the same smear tactics from last year’s lost presidential election to a nonentity called Ahmadinejad, then mayor of Tehran, as well from failing to win a Majlis seat as one of the 30 Tehran representatives.
Khamenei’s strong words to the president had no effect whatsoever; the campaign of character assassination still keeps going and the Ahmadinejad-Mesbah Yazdi venture goes from strength to strength. It now looks as though nothing can stop the ultra-radical RGs and clerics from taking over the Council of Experts and capturing the last outpost of government in Tehran.
While slandering the Rafsanjanis for their wealth, the Revolutionary Guards, the backbone of the Ahmadinejad presidency, have made themselves the richest organization in the Islamic Republic, having cornered large slices of the national financial and commercial resources.
To smooth their path for capturing the Council of Experts, the RC succeeded in amending its statutes to make candidacy available to lay entrants as well as clerics. The amendment opened the floodgates for RC members to swamp the Council of Experts.
Another ruse enabled them to prolong the life term of the council from eight to nine years and two months.
Assuming that within this period, the elderly Khamenei will fade from the scene, the radicalized Council of Experts will have a free hand to choose a supreme ruler willing to go all-out for a nuclearized Iran.