By Iran Probe Staff
Friday, 30 June 2017
The increasing power struggle between Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani has reached an unprecedented level never seen before. This has reached a point that a newspaper of Khamenei’s camp published a piece, “The Pool Story,” indirectly threatening Rouhani to a fate similar to that of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Factional disputes were expected to decrease as the farce presidential election came to an end. In this regard, however, apparently there have been many reasons for both factions to quarrel.
Firstly, the very fact that Rouhani was able to reach a second term, being an individual who has worked with Khamenei for the past four years and one result being the Iran nuclear deal.
Rouhani began his second term coinciding with a visit paid to the region by the new US President Donald Trump and the formation of an alliance against Iran. The current crisis with Qatar was just one of the consequences of this session. Doha is currently under extreme pressure for its relations with Tehran and terrorist groups in line with the Iranian regime.
Furthermore, we had the very suspicious terrorist attacks in Tehran targeting the parliament and the tomb of regime founder Khomeini, which Iran and ISIS both claim were carried out by ISIS. Although this can be an issue of wide discussion, it was expected for various factions to use this very subject to stand united.
Considering the collection of these matters, one would think Rouhani would trek his steps very carefully, especially until his inauguration for his second term. Based on Iranian law Khamenei himself must bless the beginning of his term in office.
However, disputes between the regime’s factions have flared to such an extent in this very short period that even a missile attack staged by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) against ISIS in Syria caused even more uproar. For three days Rouhani remained silent in this regard and afterwards he said the attack was decided in the Supreme National Security Council, which he chairs. However, the IRGC issued a statement saying the attack was ordered by Khamenei himself.
In reaction, Rouhani used the opportunity of a Ramadan dinner with economic activists (and later in a tweet) to lash at the IRGC.
“We gave the economy to a government that has both guns and media. No one dares to compete with them. The private branch is truly weak,” he said.
Rouhani’s tweet (translated): Announcing the policies under Principle #44 was aimed at placing the economy into the
people’s hands. However, part of the economy controlled by the unarmed government was given to an armed government.
Prior to this on June 12th Khamenei used a speech to indirectly threaten Rouhani to a fate similar to the Iranian regime’s first president who was impeached back in 1981.
“The president then divided the society into two poles and the people into the supporters and opponents. This should not be repeated,” he said.
On the other hand, Rouhani’s inauguration in the parliament must be carried out after a blessing ceremony by Khamenei himself. However, all plans have been postponed for now without any given reason.
On the other hand Rouhani has begun questioning Khamenei’s rule. He cited to a sentence from Imam Ali, the cousin of the Prophet Mohammad and a reverend Shiite imam, who said the people’s vote is the main litmus test.
Following this issue Khamenei’s Telegram channel and a variety of his website published a recording, “A president that polarized the country.” This was a threat to sack Rouhani.
However, other websites affiliated to Khamenei went even further. One particular website named Bibak posted a piece titled, “Will Hassan Rouhani repent?”
“... well, the private pool of nobles doesn’t always revive someone, maybe it is God’s will that in those places one’s life comes to an end, and there will no longer be any chance for repenting.”
This is yet another proving example for the theory that Rafsanjani did not die a natural death and that he was murdered in a swimming pool.
Khamenei’s mistake in having Raisi enter the race in these election and his failure to engineer the election, the powder keg status of Iran’s society parallel to the tense regional and international conditions, have deepened rifts at the regime’s senior ranks. In such circumstances any move made by Khamenei to control the crisis backlashes and it appears he is no longer able to stop the chain reactions leading to his regime’s overthrow.