/ iran / analysis /
Iason Athanasiadis, a British-Greek filmmaker, photographer, and writer currently based in Tehran, who has worked for a range of broadcasters, including the BBC, al-Jazeera, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, sends this report / analysis from Iran touching issues not usually discussed in more simplistic accounts. Excerpt:
"...The victory of the ultra-conservatives temporarily ends the eight-year success enjoyed by the reformist movement under twice-elected former president Khatami. Despite enjoying unprecedented popular support, and winning back-to-back electoral landslides, the reformist movement lost the battle against Iran’s parallel power system, which consistently blocked reform. What Ahmadinejad has going for him, therefore—uniting all government institutions under a conservative banner—may also lead to his downfall. Obliged to push through reforms, and with supreme leader Ali Khamenei unlikely to block him, Ahmadinejad will live or die by his policies. Many anti-regime Iranians even cheered the election upset, arguing that the new government was sure to fail its voters and discredit the Islamic republic in the process. It is widely assumed that the 2009 elections will become a general referendum on the republic, with even more massive changes following in its wake...
And here's a bit more from the Asia Times on the Hojjatieh society, mentioned in the article, and their possible re-emergence as a political power. They are described as "Shi'ite supremacists". The AT article is yet another informative analysis of current Iranian events - and beyond actually:
"There is no doubt that Mesbah and the new crew, whether formally Hojjatieh or not, are more attached to core Shi'ite identity and values," said Vali Nast, a professor of Middle East politics at the Department of National Security Affairs. "But an equally important faction, especially in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Council, is simply anti-Ba'athist. These are people who fought in the Iran-Iraq war and that may also be important in deciding attitudes towards Saudi Arabia and Iraq."
At a time of rising Sunni-Shi'ite tensions in the region, and as Iraq increasingly turns into a proxy battleground for its neighbors, it is not surprising that a Shi'ite supremacist government in Tehran, whether related to the Hojjatieh or not, should reemerge.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are battling it out in Iraq as both seek to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis, the majority of whom are Shi'ites. While Iran is believed to have a better intelligence presence in the country and a more organized military capability, Saudis account for a large percentage of the suicide bombers active there.