The Guardian has a story today that indicates the Iranian president Mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be in a wee bit of trouble at home in a political way. It seems that his former ally, the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, just may have cut off Mahmoud's protection by allowing the Iranian parliament members to attack his policies. Without his godfather, so to speak, Mahmoud may have some very tough sailing coming his way.
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered a potentially fatal blow to his authority after the country's supreme leader gave an apparent green light for MPs to attack his economic policies.
In an unprecedented rebuke, 150 parliamentarians signed a letter blaming Mr Ahmadinejad for raging inflation and high unemployment and criticising his government's failure to deliver the budget on time. They also condemned him for embarking on a tour of Latin America – from which he returns tomorrow – at a time of mounting crisis.
The signatories included a majority of the president's former fundamentalist allies, now apparently seeking to distance themselves as his prestige wanes.
MPs also criticised Mr Ahmadinejad's role in the UN security council dispute over Iran's nuclear programme amid growing evidence that the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ordered him to stay silent on the issue.
The supreme leader, who was hitherto loyal to the president, is said to blame Mr Ahmadinejad for last month's UN resolution imposing sanctions over Iran's refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment.
Ayatollah Khamenei has ultimate authority on foreign policy, and is rumoured to be so disillusioned with Mr Ahmadinejad's performance that he has refused to meet him on occasion.
That last problem may also have a bit to do with Mahmoud's reported problem with basic hygiene. Would you really want to spend time with someone who isn't all that good at little things like showering? Well, unless you're an aspiring dictator, that is. Ahmadinejad has been spending quality time with his new lapdog, (T)Hugo Chavez, planning new ways to spend Iran's money on anything but the Iranian people. That gives the parliament yet another reason and a free hand to criticize him as well.
The two countries had previously revealed plans for a joint $2 billion fund to finance investments in Venezuela and Iran, but the leaders said Saturday the money would also be used for projects in friendly countries throughout the developing world.
"It will permit us to underpin investments … above all in those countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the (U.S.) imperialist yoke," Chavez said.
"This fund, my brother," the Venezuelan president said, referring affectionately to Ahmadinejad, "will become a mechanism for liberation."
"Death to U.S. imperialism!" Chavez said.
Back to the Gaurdian for a moment for this comment:
The mounting criticism is fuelling speculation that Mr Ahmadinejad is politically doomed. Observers have even suggested he might be impeached and removed from office.
"Ahmadinejad's golden era is over and his honeymoon with the supreme leader is finished. He has problems even meeting the supreme leader," said an Iranian political commentator, Eesa Saharkhiz. "The countdown to his dismissal has already begun. There is a probability that he cannot even finish his current four-year period."
If Ahmadinejad actually does fall, it will be at least partly due to the sustained pressure from the United States, as subdued as that has been in an attempt to keep Europe, Russia and China on board at least doing something to stop the madman. Bush will, undoubtedly get no credit for that in the Western media. But it will be a fact nonetheless. And refusing to talk to Iran, rejecting the Baker boy's "realism" will have been exactly the right thing to do. Opening talks with Mahmoud would have strengthened him while weakening the US.