Assembly of Experts Supports Khamenei

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ayatollah_khamenei.jpe.jpgThis appears to be quite bad news. The Assembly of Experts, headed by former President Rafsanjani, have expressed its full support of Ayatollah Khamenei’s statement on Friday.
That means, I think, that those in the streets are being abandoned by many at the elite level of this struggle for Iran’s soul.
I hope I’m wrong about this, and there may be other drivers of what happens next in this conflict. But one rule of these kinds of revolutions is that momentum and defections are key.
I wish we had heard something directly from Rafsanjani.
This information has been reported on Mehr News. I can’t read this link — so if what I have been told is mistaken, please email me or comment as soon as possible.
Here is English language confirmation of the above.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

24 comments on “Assembly of Experts Supports Khamenei

  1. Sandy Peterson says:

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    Reply

  2. Charles says:

    Nico at the Huffington (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/13/iran-demonstrations-viole_n_215189.html) posts the following response from one of his readers, which I think is germane:
    “I just wanted to point out that the letter of support written by assembly of experts in support of Khamenei’s sermon is only signed by the deputy leader of the assembly, who is a former head of the judiciary and a staunch supporter of ahmadinejad, as well as a rival of Rafsanjani for the assembly’s leadership election. He is the only one signing the letter and the government sponsored news media are reporting it as a letter from the full assembly.”
    and
    “The statement is not by the Assembly of Experts, but by Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the “Dabirkhane” of the Assembly of Experts. His statement doesn’t carry much weight and definitely not a blow to the freedom movement. After all, there are certainly many Khamene’i loyalists in the Assembly of Experts and such comments could be expected from these cowards.”

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  3. DonS says:

    “…” quotes Wigwag’s “”But I wouldn’t mind seeing a Washington Note post that provided a cost-benefit analysis of a surgical strike designed to kill Ahmadinejad and Khamenei…” and suggests that this incredibly bad form logic be applied to Netanyahu. But that would violate Wigwag’s willingness to show incredibly bad form many matters save those related to Israel. Seems like such a “surgical strike” on Iran might just tip the balance for a larger conflict that Israel just might not mind. But of course Wigwag says he’s not saying it’s a good idea; just worth discussing. Perhaps like discussing the pros and cons of a surgical strike to eliminate the usurpers Bush and Cheney. Eh?

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  4. JohnH says:

    JG-To refresh your memory, here’s a little information about the 2006 Mexican presidential election, which Calderon officially won by 0.58%.
    http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2633
    Here are some of the striking similarities between the two elections:
    1) a contested election with two candidates declaring victory
    2) massive demonstrations on the part of the apparent loser with up to 2 million people participating
    3) election irregularities, which were precisely documented in the case of Mexico’s
    4) a partial recount that was not at all transparent. Refusal to conduct a total recount
    5) apparent collusion between the electoral court and the ruling elite: “the liberal Proceso, Mexico’s leading news weekly, strongly denounced the conduct of IFE chairman Ugalde, concluding that the agency had been ‘an ally of the federal government in its goal of avoiding, at all costs, the arrival of Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the presidency.” Just substitute Khamanei for ‘federal government’ and you got the similarity.
    The striking difference between the two is in the media coverage given each. The Mexican election was virtually ignored in the Western media, though the issues and were the same and the protests were of the same magnitude.

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  5. Pahlavan says:

    Iranian are you certain about your analysis? It reminds of the original Khaktosareh vatanforooshit doctorine.

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  6. JG says:

    JohnH
    with all due respect, but again, your comparison to Mexico City 2006 does not work. I am a northern Mexican that has lived most of his life in the US, and despise the Tammany Hall that Mexico City government has become under the PRD. Your facts are wrong, sir, and you furthermore give them a very partisan and Mexico City-centered slant. The Mexican electorate was against Lopez Obrador by 2 to 1 even at his most popular, and his support since has plummeted further. PAN and PRI make up 80% of the electorate, and there is much difference between them too. To lump all non-PRD votes as some sort of conspiracy is buying Lopez Obrador’s self-serving narrative. It is an insult to the brave Iranians, and to Mexicans who have worked on their democracy for generations, to compare Teheran ’09 with Mexico City ’06.

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  7. burt berman says:

    if support is that of yazdi and not the assembly, will later disavow now that story is making its way to headlines across 1000’s of outlets?

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  8. ... says:

    wigwag quotes “But I wouldn’t mind seeing a Washington Note post that provided a cost-benefit analysis of a surgical strike designed to kill Ahmadinejad and Khamenei…And the cost of an operation designed to kill Ahmadinejad and Khamenei might not be all that high.
    I’m not saying it’s a good idea. But at the very least, it’s worth discussing.”
    sometimes your ideas are very poor indeed wigwag as in this example… flip it around and think how you would view the same idea expressed towards another world leader like netanyahu for example?? stick to objectivity.. when you get subjective your ideas get even creepier…

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  9. Robert says:

    Thanks, Iranian. That’s what I get for not reading all the comments.
    Steve, maybe your post needs a little update before it scares the crap out of anyone else…

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  10. JohnH says:

    JG–I think you’ve given us the solution! Mousavi/Rafsanjani should be given the job and all the perks of the mayor of Tehran. That should make everyone happy.
    You seem to miss the point of the similarities between the current Iranian situation and Mexico 2006: a deeply contested election, statistically significant, anomalous voting patterns, massive protests in Mexico City (where 20% of Mexicans live), and a result that was decided by a court consisting mostly of appointees from PAN, the party that won. Yet the Mexican election received virtually no coverage in the US media, while the Iranian election is receiving lots.
    Two similar elections, two highly divergent patterns of media coverage. Why?
    Even if the two contested elections weren’t all that similar, what explains the media’s decision to hype one and disappear the other?

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  11. iranian says:

    the letter as i mentioned its signed by mohammad yazdi which is ardent supporter of ahmadinejad and a rival of hashemi rafsanjani. it doesn’t have any members name on it.
    the important thing about this letter is the timing of it.
    why this body didn’t issue such letter after the election and the “victory” of ahmadinejad?
    there are 2 main factions inside the assembly. one is pro leader and ahmadinejad and the other is pro rafsanjani. the letter are mostly conservative clerics who feel threatened by overgrowing power of the military.
    and just one more thing to mention is grand ayatollah sistani despite him being in Iraq and never saying a thing on Iranian politics has an office in qom and his representative who is his son-in-law (seyyed javad shahrestani) is quiet a powerful figure in Iranian clergy. so watch there too.

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  12. Robert says:

    According to a tweet(which is where CNN seems to be getting news, sooo….); “the statement by Assembly of Experts is not signed by all members”
    http://twitter.com/whereismyvote/status/2258481319
    Can someone who speaks the language access the official statement on the official website and do a count of the names or something?
    http://www.majlesekhobregan.ir/

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    Steve Clemons is absolutely correct. Netanyahu and his fellow Likudniks were rooting for Ahmadinejad all along. A weakened regime led by Mullahs reviled by their own people and disdained by the Americans and Europeans is a dream come true for Netanyahu.
    On the other hand, a Mousavi government would have been a nightmare for Netanyahu. A regime warmly embraced by Iranians with a reformist reputation in the West would have been far harder to vilify. As Flynt Leverett said all along, Mousavi would have pursued the same nuclear ambitions as Ahmadinejad but in a milder way that gave less offence to world opinion.
    Regardless of what the Chinese and Russians do at the UN, the United States and Europe will embrace a harsh sanctions regime against an Ahmadinejad led government with far more gusto than they would have against a Mousavi led government. How can this fail to bring a smile to Netanyahu’s face.
    Beyond the nuclear question a reformist government led by Mousavi might have been more willing to dampen its support for Hamas and Hezbollah. This would have eliminated one more excuse for Netanyahu to stall on the peace process. The fear of Iranian rockets making their way to the West Bank in the same way they ended up in Gaza was a major (and legitimate reason) why many Israelis and their American supporters were skeptical of a peace treaty with the Palestinians. With Ahmadinejad in power and his penchant to ship weapons to Hamas intact, Netanyahu will be able to keep stalling with impunity. The biggest losers if Ahmadinejad and the rest of the coup-meisters succeed will be the Iranians. The second biggest loser will be the Palestinian people who will see their legitimate aspirations for a state of their own fade even further into oblivion.
    You can be assured that Netanyahu wants Ahmadinejad to prevail.
    And Steve is also right that the Israelis won’t attack Iranian nuclear installations. It’s technically too difficult, the likelihood of success is too low and the implications for Israel’s immediate neighborhood are too great for Israel to do anything but bluff about an attack.
    Of course the United States could attack and while the chances are low that it will, I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility. How ironic that would be; Obama attacking Iran after Bush attacked Iraq.
    I still think any type of military invasion of Iran would be a bad idea; actually a very bad idea.
    But I wouldn’t mind seeing a Washington Note post that provided a cost-benefit analysis of a surgical strike designed to kill Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.
    It seems to me that such an attack might be very popular with Iranians and very popular around the world (like when Obama ordered the Navy to kill the young pirates).
    And the cost of an operation designed to kill Ahmadinejad and Khamenei might not be all that high.
    I’m not saying it’s a good idea. But at the very least, it’s worth discussing.

    Reply

  14. rfjk says:

    What’s become unmistakably evident is the fact of the massive voter fraud that’s driving this spontaneous explosion of civil discontent between the Iranian masses and ruling elites. Anyone who doubts that now isn’t even a ‘Master of the Obvious.’
    Khomeini hasn’t got forever to either squelch the demonstrations or compromise with the opposition. The more violence he perpetrates against the aggrieved masses and its leaders, the more he drives and binds them together towards more overt resistance to the regime. Force is not the answer to this crises, and if Khamenei persists it will be the mother of his ‘screw ups.’

    Reply

  15. iranian says:

    Steve
    the letter doesn’t prove anything but at the same time, it wasn’t unexpected.
    it is signed by mohammad yazdi, the hardliner cleric who’s the head of secretariat of the council. he’s ex judiciary chief and was rafsanjani’s rival in heading the council.
    there is 2 important issues so far regarding the clerics.
    no marjaa (the grand ayatollahs) of qom so far has congratulated ahamdinejad, just one of them has written a letter to khamenie and praised the people’s presence. even those who were considered closest to regime, like safi golpaigani, javadi amoli or makarem shirazi haven’t done so far.
    the second thing is the most important clerics of qom who do the Friday prayers in that city, are not doing it. the Friday prayers now is being done by a cleric who was appointed last year by khamenie. the reason for refusal is the supporters of ahmadinejad attacked a senior cleric, javadi amoli in his ceremony recently, when he criticized ahmadinejad without naming him for attacking rafsanjani(again without mentioning the name).
    even if the clerics of qom do something by rafsanjani, it wont happen now i guess. it needs time. rafsanjani in recent years several times has mentioned “council of leadership” against a single leader.

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  16. steve clemons says:

    bob h — that is not the case. we will end up engaging whoever consolidates power in iran and discuss strategic issues of mutual interest. israel will not attack iran and replace the mullahs now hated inside iran as their most reviled enemy.
    what iran does domestically and how it manages its international course will be on separate tracks — but i’m tired of hearing about the likelihood of an israeli strike, which will not happen during Obama’s presidency — and was flatly rejected during the george w. bush presidency.

    Reply

  17. JG says:

    This in no way is like Mexico City in 2006… only Mexico City was paralyzed, the rest of the country went on with their lives. The people in charge of the Mexico City government (the PRD) likes to think of itself as a persecuted minority… GIVE ME A BREAK! They have had the second most powerful political post (Mexico City) for a decade and a half, but because the rest of the country does not agree with their navel-gazing narrative, they are suddenly a minority. The loosing candidate has proven to be the nut-case his worst detractors claimed… he is even destroying his own party at the moment. Give me a break.

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  18. bob h says:

    “This ups the ante considerably. It makes a successful crackdown
    more likely but also makes the total collapse of the Islamic
    Republic more likely.”
    I think the mechanism is now that diplomatic engagement with this regime becomes impossible, and Israel moves to the attack. We inevitably will be drawn in, and the outcome is not in doubt.

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  19. steve clemons says:

    samuelburke — the neocons you list have zero to do with what is going on in Iran. None of them saw this coming. None were supportive of Mousavi. All of them believed the election process would yield thugs – -and all of them essentially want a US military confrontation with Iran from the outside to try and impose regime change.
    i’m serious — clean up your act and cease the idiotic posts here or i’m going to be forced to ban your url info.

    Reply

  20. samuelburke says:

    americas fingerprints are all over this green bullrevolution….
    check this out…founding member of the foundation for democracy in iran Joshua muravchik was at the american enterprise institute….neocon central…along with winep institute… he also wrote this wonderful piece over at the l.a times a while back.
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-muravchik19nov19,0,5419188.story?coll=la-home-commentary
    http://www.iran.org/about.htm
    The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit organization established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran. The IRS approved the Foundation’s application for non-profit status under Section 501(c)(3) in 1996.
    Biographies of Key FDI Personnel
    Nader Afshar (Chairman)
    Mr. Afshar is President of Middle East Consulting Associates, and has a Master of Science in development planning from London University, and a Master of Philosophy from the City of London Polytechnic’s School of Business Studies. Mr. Afshar has worked extensively with the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America Farsi Service.
    William Nojay
    An attorney with Hiscock & Barclay LLP, in Rochester, New York, and previously with Coudert Brothers in Manhattan, Bill Nojay brings legal and compliance expertise to FDI. During a long career of civic activism, Mr. Nojay has served as a volunteer election monitor with the International Republican Institute in Ukraine (2004) and Afghanistan (2005), and has provided pro bono assistance to pro-democracy and freedom movements in Cambodia and elsewhere. He has a JD and a Certificate in International Law from Columbia University Law School and an MBA from Columbia’s Business school.
    Kenneth R. Timmerman (President and CEO)
    The Foundation’s activities are coordinated by Kenneth R. Timmerman, a journalist and author who also served in the 103rd Congress as an aide to Congressman Tom Lantos (D, Ca). Mr. Timmerman published The Iran Brief, a monthly investigative newsletter on strategy, policy, and trade, between 1994 and 2000. His most recent book on Middle Eastern affairs is Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum, New York 2005). In January 2006, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2006 by former Swedish deputy premier, Per Ahlmark.
    Prior Board members:
    Joshua Muravchik (founding member)
    Dr. Muravchik has been a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute since 1987. Prior to that, he was a Fellow in Residence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and Executive Director of the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. AEI Press published his 1991 study, Exporting Democracy, and The Imperative of American Leadership, in April 1996. His latest work, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, was published by Encounter Books in 2002.

    Reply

  21. Steve Clemons says:

    samuelburke — search my blog under the term palestinian — and then reframe your question to me. i am tiring of your nonsense here. if you want a platform to blather on, do so at your own expense on your own blog. i have been actively involved supporting palestinians and that issue.
    i know the mexican issue less well and tend not to write about subjects i dont know well — but may invite other bloggers to come post here about it. if you guys harrass further, i’m blocking you — as your comments are really, really pissing me off.
    best for now — but clean up your act,
    steve

    Reply

  22. Andrew says:

    This ups the ante considerably. It makes a successful crackdown
    more likely but also makes the total collapse of the Islamic
    Republic more likely. What until now seemed most likely would be
    that the Assembly of Experts might unseat Khamenei in that
    worst-case scenario (for the regime) and “revolution” that didn’t
    replace the basic structure of the Islamic Republic. If ultimately the
    protests overwhelm the government and the Assembly refuses an
    “out,” then only a system-replacing situation becomes far more
    credible.
    Of course, the big question is what do Moussavi, Khatami,
    Karroubi, and their clerical allies do? Since none want to actually do
    away with the structure entirely, will they be willing to push for a
    full scale revolution as the only option left?

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  23. samuelburke says:

    when mexicans rebel against their elites the politcal wonks do as theyre told and tow the party line in amerika…..the same goes for palestinians who are actively and peacefully protesting as we speak….but heaven forbid that the great american superheros dare to speak up on that subject…
    come on steve speak up for the palestinians ….make it your rally cry…or isnt their plight any of your business? or is there fear to deal with that issue….president jimmy carter is still on the job and the tide is turning for the helpless palestinians.
    never again isnt only for the chosen.

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  24. JohnH says:

    “That means, I think, that those in the streets are being abandoned by many at the elite level of this struggle for Iran’s soul.”
    Exactly what happened after massive demonstrations in Mexico, July 2006. Only there was no hype about it, because Washington elites happen to like Mexican elites.

    Reply

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