Iran's Power Struggle

by The New Republic Staff | October 5, 2006

This morning's New York Post carries an important story that was written by Amir Taheri, a columnist from whom I have learned a good deal over the years. The article is about a struggle in Iran between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president, and Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a previous president and the funny little man's defeated opponent for the post last year. The story is about a smoking gun, two smoking guns, in fact, and it goes back to the time when Iran was losing a desperate war to Iraq. That is, there are two letters: one is from Brig. Gen. Mohsen Rezai; the other from the Ayatollah Khomeini, the weirdly charismatic leader of the Islamic upsurge in Iran, the man who threw the Shah into the street. Anyway, the evidence shows that Iran has been pursuing a nuclear weapons program for almost 20 years. And Rafsanjani, who is the country's most powerful opponent of Ahmadinejad and the likeliest contender in the next elections, needs to show that he was in on the development atomic arms ... and much more. The letters and their context do that. So how does he differ from Ahmadinejad? He thinks that the current president is nuts and that you shouldn't begin provoking the United States as a casual strategy (he remembers when Ronald Reagan destroyed half the Iranian navy). And, of course, he intends to neutralize Ahmadinejad on the nuclear question. He was there first. So here it is, from Rupert Murdoch's Post, "fair and balanced." The question is: Why has the mainstream press ignored this story that has been in the Iranian press for more than a week? Well, for one thing, you can't blame this on the Bush administration. Or on any administration. The Iranians are their own "agency," so to speak.

Source URL: