The Supreme Leader addresses Air Force officers on Thursday
0722 GMT: Propaganda Too Much. A curious story from State outlet Press TV "US Claims of Dialogue with Iran Preposterous: Analysts"....
The denial is not curious --- it follows the line set down by the Supreme Leader on Thursday of no direct talks with the malevolent and devious US. What is curious is the framing of the denial --- the article does not name or quote any of the "political analysts" who have supposedly decried the "utterly preposterous" Americans.
0653 GMT: Supreme Leader Watch. While international media have been preoccupied with the passage of the Supreme Leader's speech on Thursday in which he said "no direct talks with the US" --- a passage which has usually been mis-interpreted, but more on that later --- we are most interested in his concern on the domestic front.
After days of political turmoil, sparked by the confrontation between President Ahmadinejad and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani in the Majlis on Sunday, Ayatollah Khamenei bluntly told the heads of the Government branches, "Stop your temper tantrums", and commanded them to unify for the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Monday.
The Supreme Leader had already intervened for a cease-fire on Tuesday night when he met with head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani, a discussion that led to the freeing on bail of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi after his arrest on Monday. Sadegh Larijani subsequently said that, while he was sure of the "slander" of Ahmadinejad and the perfidy of the group around him, he would maintain his silence in deference to Ayatollah Khamenei.
However, Khamenei's latest statement does not answer key questions. It indicates --- but does not prove --- that Sadegh Larijani, angered at Ahmadinejad's attack on his brother, took the initiative in ordering Mortazavi's arrest. We still do not know what the Supreme Leader was doing on Sunday and Monday when the political crisis exploded, in particuar, whether his office was giving quiet support to the Larijanis to cut Ahmadinejad down to size.
Nor we do not know how effective his call for peace and Revolutionary harmony will be. At the very least, Ayatollah Khamenei has been unable to control outbursts of political violence in the highest levels of his regime.
So is he "balancing", not always successfully, the relations between his heads of Government branches? Or is he feeding some of the tension to further contain a troublesome President?EA WorldView: EA Iran