Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is Rahim-Mashaei Ahmadinejad's Medvedev?

Is Ahmadinejad trying to emulate what Putin achieved in Russia by placing a figure-head at the head of the government while he still calls the shots? You may see Medvedev's face in almost all international fora or sit-ins with other heads of state, but there is little doubt as to who exactly pulls the levers behind the scenes in Russia. To be fair to Mr. Medvedev, he has been displaying a bit of a wiggle room lately in terms of foreign diplomacy, especially towards the west. But to think he is a man of his own and his decisions on major issues independent of his predecessor is perhaps too generous.

Is Rahim-Mashaei, the father of Ahmadinejad's daughter in law, being groomed to continue the line after Ahmadinejad's term completes? Ahmadinejad's infatuation with power is no secret. Neither is his ever growing tendency to grab more control of the country, at the cost of alienating some of his religious support among the clerical establishment. This hunger for more power is demonstrated in his recent-found boldness to stand up to the major regime factions and personalities, be they the speaker of Majlis, Ali Larijani or even a show of defiance in the face of the supreme leader, Khamenei, albeit in a more timid fashion. But his change from being subservient to the rule of supreme leader during his first term to his new challenger for major power structures in the country is clearly palpable, no thanks to immeasurable favors bestowed upon the dreaded IRGC, the Revolutionary Guard Corp during his first term, which in turn created a strong-hold for his vie for power in this term.

What may point towards the Putin-Medvedev analogy is the little discussed, but still persistent rumors that he entertained an amendment of the constitution which limits the candidacy of a person for presidency to only two terms. His supporters may have issued out these 'feelers', and perhaps was rebuked by the supreme leader's camp. But there is no denying Ahmadinejad's ambition. Therefore the second best way is to follow suit and initiate the process of grooming an Ahmadinejad insider for the next presidential election akin to what Putin arranged. And who better an insider than Rahim-Mashaei?

It is, however, a different matter that many facts and figures, most speculations and theories point to an aborted presidency for this man and the freedom movement's eventual triumph, thus making any presumptions with regards to the next presidential elections moot and an exercise in futility.

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