Sunday, June 21, 2009

What the Hell is Going on in Qom?

My heart dropped, I'll admit, when I read on the Huffington Post liveblog that the Assembly of Experts declared its "strong support" for Khamenei and its messages. It baffled me as much as disappointed me, since the few bits of information I'd heard suggested that there was more division than that.

And then, well, this:

Earlier today, the Tehran Times posted an article claiming that the powerful clerical group, the Assembly of Experts, had on Saturday "expressed its 'strong support' for the Supreme Leader's statements on the presidential elections on Friday." It would have been a major blow to reformists' efforts to win the support of many senior clerics.

But as it turns out, it's not true. Reader Ali writes in:

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 reader Majid provides more details:

Once again thanks for the great job in reporting the events. Just a comment about your 7:33pm item about the Assembly of Experts. 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.
it makes sense that Yazdi would try this. He's the guy who believes there is no place in Islam for democracy, and that a Rafsanjani-elevated compromise candidate like Khamenei was somehow divinely ordained. But why on earth did they think they could get away with it? Are things so bad that Khamenei's allies are just desperate to try to buttress his authority? Or are they confident they have control?

And why didn't someone else, like Montazeri, respond with some variation on "you don't speak for me"?

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