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The ABC reports that their coverage of Iran is about to decline: Time to go: ABC forced out of Iran.

The Independent Middle East reporter ignores the government of Iran, as he has ignored government edicts throughout the region: Extraordinary scenes: Robert Fisk in Iran.

What is interesting in both reports are the indications that the powers that be are softening their attitude towards the Mousavi demonstrators. The local media is starting to report on their existence, rather than ignoring them totally, and Fisk noted that units that he identifies as “Special Forces” actually kept the Basij and Ahmadinejad supporters from attacking the Mousavi people.

To date, at least 7 people were killed in the attack at Tehran University, in addition to the 7 or 8 people who died at the end of the massive demonstration yesterday. That is probably why the “Special Forces” were deployed.


1 Badtux { 06.16.09 at 11:26 pm }

And McClatchy makes it official: There is a rift inside the Iranian religious hierarchy. Iran is apparently engulfed in their first full-fledged constitutional crisis. Their Constitution was always a patchwork intended to make Ayatollah Khomeini the final word in everything without bothering him with the day-to-day operations of governing, with other parts glommed on when it was clear that Khomeini was not immortal and something had to be done about the succession question, but this is the first time that the full Assembly of Experts / Guardian Council setup has gotten a real workout. True, the Guardian Council was critical in getting rid of Khatami by disqualifying his partisans, but Mousavi passed ideological muster with the Guardian Council so it’s clear that a majority of the Guardian Council had no problem with the man and was not involved in setting up the election. Yet Khamanei apparently detests Mousavi. What happens when the Supreme Leader defies the Guardian Council? Does the Guardian Council have the power to convene the Assembly of Experts? Why would anybody even risk the constitutional chaos when the Guardian Council could have simply disqualified Mousavi if he was not ideologically acceptable to the Supreme Leader (and remember, half the Guardian Council is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader and the remainder surely aren’t going to defy him directly)? Gah. Wheels within wheels. I’m not sure the Iranians themselves thought through this mess when they set it up, they figured Khomeini would live forever I guess…

2 Bryan { 06.17.09 at 12:33 am }

Juan Cole breaks the “parties” out as the hard-liners, the pragmatic conservatives, and the reformers. I think we can agree that the reformers aren’t in any position to cause problems beyond voting in elections, so it has to be a power struggle between the hard-liners and pragmatic conservatives.

As near as I have been able to determine over the course of time, Khamenei was a compromise choice, as at least two Grand Ayatollahs were jockeying for the job and no one was interested in totally alienating either of them. Khamenei is one step down as standard Ayatollah, without the following or body of writing to be a Grand Ayatollah.

Ahmadinejad follows Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who is definitely a hard-liner and someone who thinks he should be the Supreme Leader.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani certainly qualifies as the leader of the pragmatic conservatives and is the chair of two very important bodies, the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council.

The Iranians are cursed to live in interesting times.

3 Badtux { 06.17.09 at 1:06 am }

Ah yes, the Expediency Council, yet *another* of those inexplicable bodies glommed onto the Iranian Constitution. They do like their councils, don’t they?! I know what the EC is *supposed* to do — carry the Supreme Leader’s marching orders to the Parliament when there’s a disagreement about the way things are being done — but I haven’t the foggiest notion what the “extraordinary powers” are that it was granted four years ago, or how that plays into the current situation.

On the other hand, it’s been 30 years since the Iranian Revolution, so I suppose it’s about time that the Iranians had their first full-fledged Constitutional crisis, the US had theirs only eight years in. Let’s hope, for their sake, that they figure out some way to resolve this crisis peacefully…

4 Bryan { 06.17.09 at 12:20 pm }

Yes, Badtux, the EC does seem to be something of an ad hoc add-on created to relieve the Supreme Leader of dealing with the messy business of actually governing the country in any significant way. It’s almost as if every time a conflict comes up between any two groups they create a committee to deal with those specific types of disagreements. I get the feeling that the “extraordinary powers” are whatever the Supreme Leader decides they are at any given moment.

Partisan politics has popped up in the “Garden” the Iranians thought they had created.

Ah, Mr. Duff, I don’t deal with the Disney channel II, AKA the American Broadcasting Company. The ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

All governments make public statements. It’s one of those annoying parts of informing people in a democracy.