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July 31, 2007

Meanwhile, In Iran

It's not only the US which may be on a more moderate bent. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Meshkini, chairman of the mega-powerful, 86-person, "Experts' Assembly," died yesterday. The early favorite to replace him is Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran and a generally more stable, internationalist, and, compared to Ahmadinejad, pro-Western member of the country's ruling elite. Rafsanjani, to give folks an idea, was the presidential candidate we were comfortable with last time, until he was beat out by an unexpected swell of populist support for Ahmadinejad.

Currently, Rafsanjani has the support of three-quarters of the assembly. That leaves him the heavy favorite. But relations between him and Khatami are famously fractious, and Khatami could try and block him, though it doesn't appear to be expected. In any case, the Experts' Assembly chooses the country's Supreme Leader who, unlike Ahmadinejad, actually runs Iran. If Rafsanjani were to wrest the chairmanship, it would be heartening news indeed.

July 31, 2007 in Iran | Permalink


Do you mean Khamenei instead of Khatami?

Posted by: Evan | Jul 31, 2007 9:20:39 AM

Khatami? Do you mean Khamenei?

Khatami = Pre-Ahmedinejad Prez, IIRC.

Posted by: John | Jul 31, 2007 9:20:44 AM

What about today's Brooks column on Obama and Edwards competing poverty plans? I'd love to read some of your expert commentary...

Posted by: David | Jul 31, 2007 10:13:16 AM

On the other hand, there is a pretty good reason why Ahmadinejad beat Rafsanjani: the guy is an unmitigated crook. I suppose a corrupt 'pragmatist' is slightly more appealing than a religious lunatic a la Ahmadinejad or a complete reactionary like Khamenei, but that's as far as it goes.

Posted by: faux facsimile | Jul 31, 2007 11:40:59 AM

Yes, the last poster was correct. Ezra, you just buy anything the press throws you about Iran. Stick to health matters, where you appear more informed. Conservative estimates put Rafsanjani's fortune at 700 million USD> Now, I ask you, how could a man from a humble family have amassed that, being a mullah???? He's not on the board of JP Morgan and stuff like that. No, it's corruption and embezzlement on a massive scale. Ezra: No, I won't believe it! Fact: Iran is full of jokes about him and his family going around in fantastic style while the country endures great economic hardships. Also a possible source of his wealth: expropriating wealth of hanged Jews. Ezra: no, no it can't be so! He is a true believer. He just wants to bring Islamic justice to his country. Fact: there is no legitimate way this man could be as rich as he is. It is truly blood money.

Posted by: Yan D. Kamecki | Aug 1, 2007 8:13:08 PM

Conservative estimates put Rafsanjani's fortune at 700 million USD

I assume this information comes not from the press but from some more relieble source.

You've completely mistaken Ezra's comments, which imply nothing about how nice or moral Rafsanjani is.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 1, 2007 8:24:52 PM

Rafsanjani also was charged by Argentine prosecutors of being behind the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires JCC, which killed 85 people. He might still be better than Ahmadinejad, but that just goes to show the paucity of our choices.

Posted by: David Schraub | Aug 2, 2007 1:02:46 AM

His phenomenal wealth is widely known and reported. No, I don't have access to his bank records, any more than I do to Trump's, but vast wealth makes itself known. Do a google search on him , either just his name, or Rafsanjani wealth, and if you do the latter, you will see that Forbes reports on this, as do a vast array of other sources. There are varying estimates, but I ask you, how could a mullah have such holdings as oil, etc, without corruption? The man is not in business, yet he is, if you realize that he is a religious entrepreneur and has made big bucks off of the faithful and the ruled. Ezra called his ascendancy "heartening" -- To me that word had some moral content. People here are not fully aware of the scope of human rights abuses in that regime, coupled inevitably with profound corruption. There might not be a good choice for the US among this crew, but it's just a mistake to call the ascendancy of any one of them "heartening."

Posted by: Yan D. Kamecki | Aug 2, 2007 8:32:15 AM

Yan, my point in regard to the basis for your charges is that you, like Ezra, rely on the media for your information. As for whether it's "heartening" that Rafsanjani may be on the ascendant, that's relative to the alternatives.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 2, 2007 1:19:45 PM

If the big worry about the current figurehead of Iran is that if he was able to control the government he might commit national suicide because of his eschatology, then a corrupt man who presumably didn't steal his $700 million to have it and him turned into radioactive gas by nuclear retaliation would be obviously preferable.

It might be that the initial worry expressed by Ahmadinejad-phobics was silly, too.

Posted by: witless chum | Aug 2, 2007 2:18:36 PM

Pete, there is obviously a big difference between taking, from the media, matters of fact ( a man is very wealthy ) and matters of interpretation (he is a "pragmatist", a "moderate", etc). Let's don't get like the OJ jury and say that even reports of wealth are not 100 percent nailed down! Obviously, we can't know how wealthy he is, but clearly very. Agree with chum that he didn't accumulate it to have it go up in smoke. It's hard to know if Ahmadinejad is even a power unto himself, or a front for one of the others.

Posted by: Yan D. Kamecki | Aug 3, 2007 7:20:21 AM

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