Who is Really in Charge in Iran?



For a long time, the serious question of who really runs Iran has been discussed by political authorities in Tehran. This discussion is not just limited to the Reformist and the Green Protestors—now conservative authorities are also involved. The reason for this question can’t be explained for many loyalists of the Revolution and the military, and they cannot believe that these bitter happenings materialize at the order of one cleric and/or one of the followers of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution.

In any case, to the above question there are three possible answers:

1)      The country run by Mr. Khamenei himself, and Revolutionary Guards commanders and Ahmadinejad’s Team comply with the Vali al-Amr’s orders and execute them. (If at) any time the Supreme Leader is unhappy with someone or if that someone’s date has expired, that person gets disposed of.

Good or bad, the recent events which have taken place in the country are (because of) absolute rule and the Supreme Leader is directly responsible for the country’s latest crisis.

2)      Although on the surface the Supreme Leader’s s persona is above all [affairs], it is really the Revolutionary Guards and Ahmadinejad’s Team who are running the country. The leadership of Mr. Khamenei (could be) similar to the Caliphate of the late Abbasids where the Ghaznavid sultans and Seljuq rulers were real and the Caliph did not really have power; he was just the head of his dynasty and in the country there were all sorts of military rulers.  In today’s Iran, Ahmadinejad’s Team and Major General Jafari are jockeying for a certain distribution of powers and Mr. Khamenei (in this picture) is just a decoration.

3)      None of the elements discussed above do not run the country [independent] of each other. These three elements are Mr. Khamenei and his followers, Ahmadinejad’s Team, and the Revolutionary Guards (commanders) who effectively move ahead together with their own unique way and creativity. If any one of them wants to initiate something, they cannot manage affairs alone and all three elements need each other. In (a situation) similar to relative independence they still find and get acknowledgment from each other. But the captain of this ship of crisis in the stormy sea is Mr. Khamenei and whatever the other two elements say is comparable to what he says.

The founders of velayat and those who are downright obedient to the persona of the Supreme Leader are sure about the first answer, even though their numbers are in significant decline. Those close to Ahmadinejad’s Team and the Revolutionary Guards’ commanders are leaning towards answer two. Yet the answer that most reformist and conservative authorities agree with is answer three, meaning that three (power) elements at the apex of government in the executive, judiciary, and army effectively and distressfully progress together—when Mr. Khamenei still has a high hand in government and military faculties, although he lost his former powers, and the Guards’ commanders and Ahmadinejad’s Team always get acknowledgment from him. Mr. Khamenei has very much distanced himself from moderate conservatives, and he has had a deep split with the reformists for a while. His constant companions are the most radical fundamentalist military and ignorant people such as those from Ahmadinejad’s Team.

Frequent meetings between moderate conservatives and reformists have produced one common result: apprehension about Iran’s future and Mr. Khamenei’s severe recklessness in the country’s current fifteen-month crisis.

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