Thursday, Dec. 09, 2010

Iran's Internal Power Struggle

While most Mahmoud Ahmadinejad headlines over the past year have focused on his defiant grandstanding on the international stage, the Iranian President is facing mounting challenges within Iran's corridors of power: from conservatives who believe that his histrionics and mismanagement are imperiling the Islamic Republic, and from mullahs who charge that he is usurping their authority under its system of clerical rule. After successfully suppressing the street protests that followed his controversial 2009 re-election, Ahmadinejad has this year found himself at odds with just about every branch of the Iranian government, especially the parliament. In November, it came to light that the legislature had moved to impeach Ahmadinejad for attempting to increase executive authority; he'd sought to remove long-standing subsidies on basic goods amid the strain caused by economic mismanagement and international sanctions. The legislators backed off from their impeachment drive at the urging of Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, but the episode revealed political divisions within the regime that will remain on the boil in the coming year.