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Huffington Post: Iranian "Feud:" Much Ado About Nothing?

May 5, 2011

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In this Huffinton Post piece, Sharmine Narwari, a Senior Associate at St. Anthony's College, Oxford University, argues that given the current geopolitical standpoint, the "political spat" between Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is, for now at least, much ado about nothing.

A public spat between Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the country's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made international headlines last week. Politics is rarely ever a harmonious business in any country, so why the brouhaha over this particular stand-off?

To be sure, the disagreement itself was an unusual occurrence. Khamenei's very public reinstatement of Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi -- citing Maslehat or the "greater good of the nation," no less -- shortly after Ahmadinejad removed him could only be viewed as a tough dressing down. And then Ahmadinejad unexpectedly raised the stakes further by boycotting cabinet meetings for eleven days.

The whole point of a Supreme Leader -- or Velayat-e Faghih -- as conceived by the Islamic Revolution's founders, is that he is the ultimate arbiter over both state and religious affairs.

Ahmadinejad's defiant snit was a direct challenge to the authority of the Supreme Leader. It served to catapult this affair into the political stratosphere, and he was eventually forced to back down.

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