Iranian Clerics Speak Out About Sham Election

Iranian Clerics Speak Out About Sham Election


This is an incredibly significant step because it paves the way for an actual revolution.

From Times Online:

Iran’s biggest group of clerics has declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election to be illegitimate and condemned the subsequent crackdown.

The statement by the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qom is an act of defiance against the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has made clear he will tolerate no further challenges to Mr Ahmadinejad’s “victory” over Mir Hossein Mousavi.

“It’s a clerical mutiny,” said one Iranian analyst. “This is the first time ever you have all these big clerics openly challenging the leader’s decision.” Another, in Tehran, said: “We are seeing the birth of a new political front.”

This has a few practical effects.

  1. It puts the Supreme Leader in a nearly indefensible positions and calls into question his authority.
  2. These clerics can now claim the moral high ground and possibly unseat the Supreme Leader
  3. It’s unlikely that Mousavi will be arrested at this point, even though Khamenei has called for it.

Also, let’s not forget that even though the protests were quashed last week, folks will be coming out in about 20 days to mourn the deaths of the protesters who died during the first round. And this could lead to more deaths, which will lead to more protests, etc. And that’s how the revolution in 1979 happened, so there’s a possibility it could happen again.

More as it develops…

  • ExiledIndependent

    Great, so one or more of the Teachers of Qom want to be the next Supreme Leader. This isn’t change, this is a reshuffling of the deck.

  • kranky kritter

    My weasel language alarm just went off. Iran’s “biggest group of clerics”? What does that mean? If there are 2 groups of clerics, one has a million and the other has 500, then it means one thing.

    But If there are many, many groups of clerics of various sizes, and this one is the biggest but only represents a fifth or a tenth or a fiftieth of the total clerics, and there are other powerful clerical groups of a similar size, then it means something very different.

  • Daniel

    I’m inclined to agree with ExiledIndependent. Even supposing there’s a revolution, Ahmadinejad is deposed, and Iran gets a new leader, it doesn’t seem likely the rest of the world will notice the difference. This is likely just this group of clerics trying to get their guy into power.

    Interestingly, I found this at “The authority of the [Supreme Leader] goes against the traditional system through which Shiite society chooses its leader.” So I’m not saying the clerics’ concerns aren’t legitimate- just that it likely won’t make a difference to the rest of us.

  • TerenceC

    To put it in perspective, the Iranian Clerics are similar in some respects to our Supreme Court. They have an enormous amount of power to uphold or over turn law – which in this case is primarily religious law – but no real power to effect change without societies consent. They were given the consent 30 years ago and are reluctant to give up the power now – but not all of them are like that. Many of the clerics do not take a hard line just like many of our judges are not firm right or left wingers – it’s a philosophical disagreement more than anything else.

    Change is coming to Iran in the next 5 to 10 years whether it likes it or not. There are simply too many 18 to 34 year olds who won’t stand for the narrow minded view points of people educated in last centuries thinking and unable to come up with a workable plan for their economy, their society, or the world at large. Does any American really think Iranians are too stupid to realize the quagmire their theocracy has put them in? They have had a working society there for thousands of years – this is just an unfortunate bump in the road for them and they will fix this – and soon (by their standards) judging by the sound of the internal discussions taking place.

  • Joker

    Hmm, this could lead to some fascinating possibilities in the future, or some horrible ones. Optimistically there will be another revolution. Maybe the new regime will be more favorable to the west, maybe not, but if they have a different group in power that might allow for more liberties or at least more gradual reforms then it is a good thing for the country and the world. Conversely I remember Tianeman square, and I fear that we might see a middle eastern version of it. Perhaps it will cause personal revolutions in other nations, perhaps it will lead to deeper repression.