Thursday, January 24, 2008

Trouble at home for Ahmadinejad

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be losing some vital support at home.

The country’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday overruled Ahmadinejad, telling the parliament to go forward with a law the president opposed. Major political decisions in Iran do not happen without the blessing of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Analysts feel that a public rebuke of the president is a signal Khamenei is unhappy with the way Ahmadinejad is running the country. Ahmadinejad was elected on promises of sharing Iran’s oil revenues with the country’s poor, who voted overwhelmingly for him. But despite record oil prices, Iran’s poorest citizens have seen little of that wealth trickle down to them. Ahmadinejad’s reelection in 2009 is now in doubt, meaning that a moderate candidate could take over the presidency and look to weaken the grip on power held by the ayatollahs. Over half of Iran’s population is under 30, and many would like improved relations with the West.
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