Sunday, November 27, 2011

You're Tearing me Apart Ahmadinejad

Over the past year, the Iranian government has decided that it has a traitor in its midst. In much the same fashion as a number of pundits in the US, the state of Iran feels that its political leadership is not only to blame for the country's state but that it is also actively trying to sabotage the state. While this started as a personal disagreement between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei over the place of Manouchehr Mottaki as foreign minister, it has blossomed into an all out turf war over the hearts and minds of the political elite.

In the past week this schism has expressed itself in the form of a SWAT-style armed raid on a newspaper office to arrest a media adviser to Ahmadinejad, Ali Akbar Javanfekr who was sentenced today. While to my knowledge using tear gas during an official press conference is something of an unprecedented action, this all begs a bigger question: why?

While I have often found humor in the press releases of the Iranian media, this step hints that the division is somewhat deeper than the previous "conflict" let on. Rather than a conflict over who holds power and is in favor at the moment, this arrest either means that the Government is questioning its own narrative of events or that it is trying to send a message to someone. The most likely reason is the later, as the Uskowi article mentions, and that the intended recipient is President Ahmadinejad himself. As Javanfekr was one of the few advisers that has remained close to Ahmadinejad in recent months this arrest can be seen not so much as a message to "shape-up," but more as a message that the end is near for the country's current political leader.

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