Tag Archives: Ali Khamenei

What if Iran’s supreme leader dies?

An Iranian observer commented on the absence of Iran’s supreme leader from the public eye saying: “We are not receiving good news about the health of our leader who did not address the people and guests on the day of al-Ghadir… Pray for him.”

The abundance of personal rumors made us used to not believing them and the absence of the supreme leader for 20 days and from two occasions does not mean much. But, despite the weak account of the Iranian regime leader’s health, the question about what might happen after him poses itself forcibly: If the supreme leader died tonight, would Iran change its foreign policy?

The Iranian regime is collective, not like the regime of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser for example. Nasser’s death led to a change in Egypt’s polices during the reign of his successor, Anwar Sadat. In single-ruler regimes the successor often revolts against his predecessor’s policies.

Regional experiences

For instance in Syria, when Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father, Syria’s policy changed in many ways. Syria reached a deadlock after the death of Bashar’s father, Hafez, who realized that belonging to a small religious sect (the Allawites) required him to engage in a complex balance of power. When he died, his son Bashar worked on changing the equation and enrolled in the service of the Iranian regime within a full-fledged alliance. He had the courage to assassinate senior figures in Syria, and then Lebanon, and supported terrorism activities in Iraq for years. He then resorted to violence against those who revolted against him.

Back to Iran

Would the death of the supreme leader – the man who has the final say in all state matters– change Iran’s policy for the better or worse? Unfortunately, it will likely be for the worse. All those who are rushing to succeed the supreme leader are more revolutionary than he is, especially with the growing role of the Revolutionary Guards in the state administration and public life. The Revolutionary Guards are running battles in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and Gaza.

A positive figure like Hashemi Rafsanjani has no luck in leading Iran. Rafsanjani ended up isolated and marginalized, even though he helped Ali Khamenei become the supreme leader. However, Khamenei turned against him and isolated him and imprisoned his children. Today, extremists are in control of the key decision-making positions in the Iranian government. Additionally, they have the support of the Revolutionary Guards. Most of Iran’s historical and moderate figures, who could have led the country towards peace and stability and work on the development and establishment of regional and international relations, such as Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hussein Mousavi, have been alienated.

After 30 years of political extremism in Tehran, We hope we would be able catch a glimpse of light in the future of Iran and the Iranian leadership, but we are yet to see the light. These are not only our aspirations, but also the desires of the Iranian people who suffer every day, becoming among the poorest and most miserable, after they once were among the most successful people in the Middle East.

Iran’s regime today is an extremist institution in its reticence and espouses policies similar to Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, Qaddafi’s Libya, Assad’s Syria and Kim Jong-un’s North Korea. We do not know what will happen tomorrow if Khamenei disappears from Iran’s political scene.


This article was first published in al-Sharq al-Awsat on Nov. 2, 2013.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


New Iran President Tied to 1994 Bombing of Argentinia Jewish Center

85 were killed in bombing of Argentinian Jewish Center


Argentina BombingIranian President-elect Hassan Rowhani was on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, according to an indictment by the Argentine government prosecutor investigating the case.

The AMIA bombing is considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history, killing 85 and wounding hundreds more. The Argentine government had accused the Iranian government of planning the attack and Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah of carrying it out. Numerous former and current Iranian officials are wanted by Interpol in connection with the bombing.

Former Iranian intelligence official Abolghasem Mesbahi, who defected from Iran in the late 1990s, testified that the decision to launch the attack was made within a special operations committee connected to the powerful Supreme National Security Council in August 1993.

According to the 2006 indictment, Mesbahi testified that Rowhani, who was then serving as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, was also a member of the special committee when it approved the AMIA bombing.

“With regard to the committee’s role in the decision to carry out the AMIA attack, Moghadam stated that this decision was made under the direction of Ali Khamenei, and that the other members of the committee were [then-Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani, Mir Hejazi, Rowhani, Velayati and Fallahijan,” the indictment says.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei led the special committee, according to the indictment, and Khamenei and Rafsanjani made the ultimate decision to go ahead with the attack.

While Rowhani was allegedly present for deliberations about the planned bombing, it is highly unlikely he would have had approval authority, according to Iran experts.

“Rowhani’s power at that time comes directly from one individual, and that’s Rafsanjani,” said Reuel Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy.

“As far as that bombing was concerned, because Rafsanjani had to give his approval for that, there was no doubt Rowhani was aware of it, and obviously his approval’s not necessary,” Gerecht continued. “He’s a subordinate. But he certainly would have been aware of all the discussions that led to the attack.”

Rowhani has been portrayed as a moderate reformer by the media and some Iranian regime supporters despite his close relationship with Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei. Rowhani also supported deadly crackdowns on student protesters in 1999, and claimed that he deceived the West into allowing Iran’s nuclear program to progress while serving as Iran’s nuclear negotiator with the Europeans.

Gerecht said it is difficult to determine exactly what role Rowhani may have played in the AMIA bombing without being privy to the actual deliberations. But he added that there was “nothing in Rowhani’s background that would suggest to you he has any moral qualms about bombing the enemies of the [Islamic] Republic.”

“In all probability, we would have heard about it if [Rowhani] had risen up [at the meeting] and said ‘Don’t do that, it’s a disgrace,’” said Gerecht. “We would have known that.”


Crystal Ball on Iran’s Presidential Election

By Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

On Friday, June 14, Iranians will go to the polls to elect a new president for a four-year term. Out of a field of 686 applicants, which included 30 women, the twelve-member Guardian Council that vets all candidates cut the number down to eight men that were deemed conservative and Islamic enough to legitimately aspire to the presidency.


Among those excluded was Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a top advisor to outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, considered his ally and protégé.  Also excluded were former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the founders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.


Now, who is likely to win out of the eight-member gang of unfriendly faces?


First, one needs to remember that Iranian elections are never elections.  Rather, they are “selections” — that is, the winner is pre-selected by the supreme leader, and the election is rigged to reflect that choice.  So, in truth, only one person votes in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s presidential elections.  That person is the faqih — the supreme leader — Sayeed Ali Khamenei.


Next, the figures that the Iranian press or TV service gives of voter turnout are fraudulent.  Voter turnout is likely to be worse than 2009, when it ran below 30%, despite regime claims that turnout was 65%.  Members of the Bassij — the theological militia — and of the Pasdaran — the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) — are required to cast their votes as instructed and are paid for such.  Likewise, in rural areas, votes are bought wholesale.  Nevertheless, in urban areas such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Tabriz, and Mashad, the polls will remain nearly empty all day as the Iranian populace registers its displeasure and disgust at the lack of real freedom and democracy by boycotting the “election.” The regime claims high figures for voter turnout as a way of legitimizing its rule, but the Iranian populous is not fooled by such claims. Only Western diplomats and other naïve souls are taken in by such falsified figures.


What is likely to happen is that no candidate will get a plurality in the first round.  With eight candidates, not only is such a landslide highly unlikely, but it would be a major hint that the election was fixed from the outset.  Round two, reserved for the top two vote-getting candidates, follows the first round by one week and will take place on June 21.


And now my predictions: and, more importantly, what they may actually mean.  I think that Khamenei wants Saeed Jalili, the 47-year-old nuclear negotiator, hard-liner, and career diplomat.  Jalili is a fervent supporter of Khamenei, and his election would signal that Iran is willing to stand up to Western pressure and pursue the nuclear program to its successful conclusion, come what may.  A Jalili victory says that the hard-liners are in control and that no reforms should be anticipated.  Iran under Jalili will seem like Ahmadinejad on designer steroids — a greater degree of class, but a yet higher degree of belligerence.  Jalili is Khamenei’s way of saying “full steam ahead.”


Some analysts think that Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf), the current mayor of Tehran and Ahmadinejad’s successor in that post, has a good chance as well because of his IRGC involvement.  I personally don’t think that he has been able to convince the regime hard-liners that he has become an irrevocable hard-liner himself.  I think that they will continue to distrust him should he win the power of the presidency.


If Gholam Ali Haddad Adel wins a spot in the run-off, it will mean that Khamenei is truly fearful that a revolt is at hand.  Choosing a family member (if only by marriage) is indicative of the fear of all outsiders, including even the Praetorian Guard, the Pasdaran (the Iranian Revolution Guards Corps).  Haddad-Adel is devoted to his in-law, and his elevation to the presidency would show that Khamenei doesn’t trust anyone outside his own family.  It would be a clear sign of paranoia on Khamenei’s part.


If the reformist Mohammad Reza Aref is selected, it will be proof that Khamenei blinked first in his eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the West.  Quite frankly, Aref does not stand a snowball’s chances in hell.


The other candidates are unlikely to score that well, Valayati being the only exception.  If Valayati is picked, it’s another version of the Jalili candidacy, but even more “in your face,” given Valayati’s Interpol warrant.


Two days and counting, and we dare not forget that that nuclear clock is ticking in the background.  Whoever is the winner of this election will become Ali Khamenei’s new puppet.  However, as Israeli commentator Amotz Asa-el points out, none of the candidates has any viable plan to rescue Iran’s failing economy, and it’s that factor that may tell the ultimate tale in the tragedy that is today’s Iran.


Rabbi Dr. Daniel M. Zucker is founder and chairman of the board of Americans for Democracy in the Middle-East.  He may be contacted at contact@ADME.ws.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/crystal_ball_on_irans_presidential_election.html#ixzz2VzR0tVA8
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