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Iran: Crisis over the supreme leader’s successor

Senior officials and regime insiders in Iran are escalating tensions over the next supreme leader
Senior officials and regime insiders in Iran are escalating tensions over the next supreme leader

Analysis by PMOI/MEK



Iran, August 23, 2019–While the Iranian regime’s infightings have escalated to unprecedented levels over an open letter by Expediency Council chief Sadegh Larijani to senior regime insider Mohammad Yazdi during the past few weeks, rank and file member of the ruling elite are weighing in on the fight, one way or another. Yazdi is known to be very close to Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Sadegh Larijani, better known as Amoli Larijani, is a former head of Iran’s judiciary, a Majlis (parliament) member, and currently heads the regime’s Expediency Discernment Council. He is one of five brothers, of which Ali Larijani is currently the Majlis speaker.

Mohammad Yazdi is also a former head of Iran’s judiciary and a member of the Assembly of Experts.

Public fighting among top-tier officials of this caliber in Iran is rare and the fallout of its continuation damages the regime’s entire power structure and its image. Therefore, officials from all stripes are weighing in, either to defend their own faction or to help extinguish the fire that they fear will destroy the entire regime.

Analysts believe that if Khamenei had the authority and power to prevent it, he would have already done so.

Following are recent statements by high-ranking Iranian regime officials concerning this latest crisis:

Ahmad Jannati, a Shiite cleric who currently chairs both the Assembly of Experts and the Guardian Council, and very close to Khamenei, called for unity. “The enemy should not cheer themselves with these fights. [Our] officials, despite differences in opinion and taste, are united and univocal in the face of the enemy,” Janati said.

Makarem Shirazi, a high-ranking mullah dubbed as the “Sultan of Sugar” for his illegal import and monopoly on the sugar market in Iran, where he has made more than $100 million in net profits, addressed both Amoli Larijani and Mohammad Yazdi. “Experience shows that this kind of dispute bears no fruit and will actually incite the fire of chaos and disagreement. I humbly ask you to completely close this door and help keep the face of the clergy and the regime. Put an end to this situation and even if some individuals mediate so that they apologize to each other, that would be appropriate,” he said with extreme concern.

Hashem Hashemzadeh Herisi, a member of the Assembly of Experts and close to the so-called reformist faction, also weighed in on the subject, saying, “These disputes have exhausted the people. We pick fights with our opponents as we do with friends... And generally, with these fights, they are damaging the [regime’s] image.”

He then warned about the popular discontent, signaling the regime’s main concern. “There are some people who don’t have any income or place to live. Who should be responsible to the people? In these conditions, we act as if the people owe us something and just talk. Talking won’t put the people at ease and they won’t be deceived anymore.”

Ezzatollah Zarghami, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council and former head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) ridiculed Larijani for threatening to expose corruption practices of high-ranking officials.

“My heart is a store of secrets and accusations against a group of deputies, officials, and sons and daughters of officials and dignitaries,” Larijani wrote in his open letter to Yazdi.

Meanwhile, a group of high ranking mullahs from the regime’s seminaries wrote a letter to Guardian Council chief Ahmad Jannati, and warned about infightings at the highest levels of the Iranian regime.

Part of the letter reads: “Unfortunately, some objectionable developments have encouraged [the regime’s] sworn enemies… Opposition media, which has been looking for case to damage the state… has found an excuse and are cheerfully covering these developments. The well-informed people of Iran clearly see the hands of foreign agents behind the curtains of this incident. It is crystal clear that the enemy is attempting to discredit the state’s legality and reputation by sowing discord among our dignitaries.”

No need for that. Regime officials are already very active in this regard, like rats fleeing a sinking ship.