Saturday, August 20, 2011

Amir Taheri: Islamic Republic now "a one-man show"

Amir Taheri continues to cover the Supremacy enhancement activities of Iran's Supreme Leader. The present article begins with a discussion of Khamenei's acquisition of the title "Imam" and then proceeds to detail the whole power-consolidation process, leading up to recent moves:
[...] He started implementing his plan in June 2009 when he declared Ahmadinejad winner of the presidential election before the counting of the votes had been completed.

By doing so, he also destroyed the authority of the Council of the Guardians of the Constitution, a body that has the authority to approve election results.

The message was clear: It was Khamenei and not the voters who would decide who becomes president. Ahmadinejad became the first President of the Islamic Republic to start a term not as the choice of the people but as someone appointed by the “Supreme Guide”.

Even that was not enough for Khamenei. Last spring he destroyed what was left of the president’s authority by vetoing Ahmadinejad’s decision to sack the Minister of Intelligence and Security. Again, the message was clear: It is the “Supreme Guide” not the president who hires and fires ministers.

Legally, the Islamic Majlis, Iran’s ersatz parliament, should approve ministerial appointments. However, in this case, the Majlis was scripted out and the sacked minister returned to his post without going through the parliamentary procedure.

Earlier this month, Khamenei hammered the nail further in by ordering Ahmadinejad to scrap his plan for abolishing the Oil Ministry and reviving the National Iranian Oil Company. Ahmadinejad was then forced to appoint a general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as the new Oil Minister.

Next, Khamenei turned his attention to the Majlis. In public statements, he made it clear that the Majlis was to obey his orders. Earlier this month, Ali Ardeshir Larijani, the Speaker of the Majlis, spelled out the new situation thus: “It is the sacred duty of the Majlis to absolutely obey the instructions of the Supreme Guide.”

The Majlis, supposed to be the legislature under the Islamic Republic Constitution, was transformed into a consultative organ for the self-styled “Imam.”

Ali Motahari, a brother-in-law of Ali Ardeshir and a member of the Majlis, put it this way: “The parliament has been reduced to an appendage of the Supreme Guide’s office.”

Khamenei’s next move was to destroy the Expediency Council, another constitutional organ, by appointing a new committee to assume its tasks.

The judiciary, supposed to be independent under the constitution, has also been destroyed. [...]
Taheri concludes that Mr. Supreme has now taken the "high-risk" path of exposing "the truth of the system." If there was any risk involved in doing that, it should evaporate quickly.

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