Iran – Feud among Ruling Factions Flare Up

Ali Larijani (left) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right)
Ali Larijani (left) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right)

Ali Larijani (left) and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right)

Stop Fundamentalism – Despite repeated attempts by the Iranian theocratic ruler Ali Khamenei to mend the differences among various factions of his regime, crisis surfaced once again Sunday in a Watergate-style blowout, this time between President Ahmadinejad and Speaker of the Parliament, Ali Larijani.

In an unseen-before faceoff, which is considered by some media observers to be a new phase in the development of Iranian internal crisis, the impeachment of the Minster of Labor, Sheikh-ol-Eslam, turned into an “account settling session” between executive and legislative branches of the Iranian regime.

A similar on-television quarrel between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hussein Mousavi during the 2009 election-run resulted in the emergence of a rift within the regime, giving way to a massive outburst of public discontent leading to the after-election events of 2009 and 2010 in Iran.

On Sunday during the impeachment session, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled a recording of talks between head of Parliaments brother, Fazel Larijani, and Tehran’s former notorious Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi.  In the recording, Larijani asks Mortazavi for financial favors.

Mortazavi is known internationally for the killing under torture of Canadian photo-journalist, Mrs. Zahra Kazemi, back in 2003.

Before the session, Ali Larijani, the head of Parliament said that Ahmadinejad threatened him that, “I have a tape recording of one of your relatives.”  He called the recording of his brother’s conversation to be a “Mafia-style” action from the side of the president.

Larijani alleged Ahmadinejad’s surrounding to have contact with the Mujahedin (Mujaheding-e Khalq Organization, or MEK) and outsiders.

Fazel Larijani, was the former Iranian embassy’s cultural attaché to Canada.  It is said that during his stay in Ottawa, a number of his family have migrated to that country.  The size of the family’s investment in Canada in not known but it is known to be considerable.  Financial issues surrounding the Larijani family has been a subject of public debate for some times.

Larijani’s other brother is the head of Iranian Judiciary.

In his speech addressing the Parliament Ahmadinejad complained about the amount of pressures from all sides on his government.  “Pressures coming from inside the country equal that of pressures coming from outside,” he said.    Ahmadinejad was referring to the international sanctions imposed on Iran due to its suspicious nuclear program.  The sanctions have practically crippled the Iranian economy lowering the value of the Iranian currency to more than half of its value since last year.

Moments following the faceoff, both Ahmadinejad and Ali Larijani announced that they will hold press conferences in this regard.  But both conferences were canceled a few hours later.

Iranian state-run media are reminding the two sides to consider Ali Khamenei’s remarks recently on avoiding confrontations in public.  “From today until the elections, anyone trying to bring differences into public in order to exploit people’s feelings and sensitivities is definitely a traitor,” said Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, last October.

Meanwhile Fazel Larijani announced Monday that he will file charges against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Saeed Mortazavi for the allegations made against him.  He called the action on the part of the president to be a conspiracy and a move to cover-up Mortazavi’s crimes in the past.

Iranian media stipulate that the reason behind impeachment of Ahmadinejad’s Labor Minister was his appointing of Saeed Mortazavi as the head of Iran’s Social Security Organization.  Internal sources report that a few days before the incident in the Parliament, Ali Larijani asked Ahmadinejad to remove Mortazavi from the post to prevent the impeachment.  Ahmadinejad refused.

When the impeachment was finally put on the agenda, Ahmadinejad sent an envoy to Speaker of the Parliament threatening him that he would unveil the recording if the parliament proceeds with the impeachment.

Observers see the next few days in the country to be crisis prone and dangerous.  Some are awaiting Khamenei’s reaction to Sunday’s events.   “Black Sunday” is what an Iranian pro-regime website called the events of Sunday and another website called the events to be “the failure of Ahmadinejad’s coup against the Parliament.”