The most interesting Iranian person in the world right now isn’t sitting in Vienna to talk about the nuclear agreement, and isn’t dishing out quirky or alarming quotes from Tehran. He is probably on a plane, flying to and from Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad etc…helping to increase Tehran’s military and political influence.
Meet Qassam Suleimani, commander of the IRGC’s „external“ operations units, better known as the Qods Force. A former CIA chief, John Maguire calls him, „the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today„. Or you can call him by his nickname: Keiser Soze.
Suleimani in Iran
On the outside, he leads a „regular life“. He is 57 years old. He wakes up every day at 4:00 and goes to sleep early at 21:30. He has five children. He takes his wife on some of his many „business“ trips. He suffers from back aches. He never raises his voice (in fact he is silent most of the time) but is gifted with an „understated charisma that makes people pay attention to him.
He is also a decorated war hero from the Iran-Iraq war and is connected all the way up to the Supreme Leader Khamenei himself who has referred to Suleimani as “a living martyr of the revolution.”
Rumours have it that Suleimani recently attempted a coup against Rouhani which was blocked at the last moment by Khamenei himself.“
Running the War in Damascus
In Syria, Suleimani has worked as the liaison between the leaders in Tehran, the Hezbollah chiefs and Bashar al-Assad for the past 3 years. He has built up Assad’s army from the inside after once exclaiming „The Syrian army is useless! Give me one brigade of the Basij, and I would conquer the whole country“.
He works in Damascus from a fortified nondescript building together with a large array of officers: Syrian military commanders, a Hezbollah commander, a coordinator of Iraqi Shiite militias and a close comrade of his, the Basij former deputy commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani.
Once Suleimani got settled in, an immediate sharp increase in Iranian supply flights into the Damascus airport carrying weapons and ammunition was noticed. Thousands of Quds operatives suddenly turned up within the Syrian army and in Assad’s special security service.
Working Behind the Scenes in Baghdad
But, as the ISIS crisis got into Iraq, Suleimani flew out repeatedly to Baghdad. The Guardian says – „Experts agree that it is hard to overestimate Suleimani’s role in Iraq. „At times of crisis Suleimani is the supreme puppeteer…He is everywhere and he’s nowhere. Suleimani is doing in Baghdad what he did in Damascus“ – this time with Maliki instead of Assad.
Under his guidance, Tehran began by supplying Maliki with weapons and militia men as well as flying out drones and jet fighters into Iraq. Judging from Suleimani’s experience in Damascus, one can only expect Suleiman to set up a similar force in Baghdad as well.
In any case, it would be worthwhile to keep an eye out on him at all times…trouble is never far away from him.
Source: Iran 24/07
In April 2006, Rouhani was caught on tape, boasting that while talks [on Iran’s nuclear program] were taking place, Iran was able to complete installing equipment for the conversion of yellowcake — a key stage in the nuclear fuel process — but at the same tine convince the Europeans that nothing was afoot.
by Banafsheh Zand
The eleventh Iranian elections are over but were not really open and fair. No election can be fair when the candidates have been handpicked and propped up by one man: the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The entire event, mostly a show for international consumption, was orchestrated within a police state. „I recently heard,“ Khamenei said, „that someone at the U.S. National Security Council said, ‚We do not accept this election in Iran.‘ We do not give a damn.“
Khamenei has often said, „Any vote that is cast for the candidates who have been picked, is a vote for the Islamic Republic. In fact all voting is a vote of trust and support for the regime.“ Iranians who voted were not electing a president but validating the Velayat’eh Faqih (the absolute mandate of jurists).
Iranian media and the internet are totally censored; the actions of the regime’s elite never reach the people inside. Additionally, both foreign and domestic media have been banned, with the exception of CNN, who sent American reporters. Part of that coercive measure has included the imprisonment of various Iranian journalists.
Hassan Rouhani, the only cleric among the candidates, is a relic from the early days of the Revolution. His birth name is Hassan Feridoon — a more Persian name then his Muslim name, Rouhani, meaning spiritual. Since the government takeover of the Islamic Revolution, Rouhani has held multiple positions, including Secretary and Representative of the National Security Council, member of the Assembly of Experts, member of the Expediency Council, President of the Center for Strategic Research, and various positions in the Iranian Parliament. In the early days of the revolution he was put in the position of Military Coordinator where he purged the existing military and replaced them with Khomeini loyalists. During the Iran-Iraq war, he served as Rafsanjani’s right hand man. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
by Shaul Bakhash
The West knows him as „the Ayatollah“, although the veracity of the religious title is debatable. So is the way the ruling system has tailored it.
Who is this so-called ayatollah? Here, we discuss his exalted position with Dr Kazem Alamdari, a sociology professor at California State University. But first, let’s look at a few facts.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Hosseini Khamenei, stands above its head of state, its judiciary and the legislature — the three foremost branches of power. A 74-year-old cleric, therefore, is the top figure… in a country that plays such an important role in the Middle East. Commander of the armed forces, he appoints all its military chiefs. The authority to declare war or call a referendum rests with him.
Khamenei succeeded Khomeini, who led the 1979 Revolution. His duties have included appointing the heads of the Judiciary and the state media apparatus, and also half the members of the Guardian Council — those overseeing Islamic jurisprudence. This Council checks new laws passed by the parliament, and vets presidential and parliamentary candidates.
Khamenei doesn’t have to charismatic, and he isn’t seen that way by the many protesters who have destroyed the top political figure’s portrait in the streets of the capital, shouting: „Down with the Dictator!“ — at the risk (women included) of being clubbed over the head by security forces wielding batons.
Iran’s leader branded the widespread protests over the result of the previous, 2009, presidential elections as „sedition“. Two of the candidates of those polls, Mirhossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karoubi, are still under house arrest.
The unwritten punishment for criticizing the leader of the Islamic Republic can include anything from temporary detention to being killed — ‚physical removal‘ is a term in vogue now.In 1997, a German court held Khamenei and then-President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani responsible for the assassination in 1992 of three opposition member in Berlin. Khamenei describes himself as a revolutionary. He has said he is not a diplomat, but many signs point to his office as the place where all matters of supreme importance are decided, such as policy on relations with the United States and Iran’s nuclear activities.
Ali Kheradpir, euronews: „Professor Alamdari, is there any similarity in any other country to Mr Khamenei’s political and religious position as enshrined in the Iranian Constitution?“
On June 4, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei charged that foreign powers are plotting to discourage Iranians from voting in the upcoming presidential election. Tehran’s enemies also want to cause “sedition” after the poll “just like what they did” after the disputed 2009 election, Khamenei claimed in a televised speech. He spoke to thousands at a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the passing of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic. Khamenei also encouraged Iranians to vote in large numbers on June 14 to show their confidence in the political system. He warned candidates against “making impossible promises” and giving concessions to the West. The following are excerpts from Khamenei’s official Twitter account and a variety of press reports.
Iranian politics are personal. Indeed, the theocrats are decidedly earthly in their rivalries. But the 2013 election is particularly telling. It may be settling a score dating back a quarter century between the revolution’s two most enduring politicos—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
A painter rests in front of a huge portrait of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on a wall near a university, 2012. (Morteza Nikoubazl / Courtesy Iran)
In normal presidential elections, it is only the candidates and their platforms that matter. Not so in Iran. There, the key player in the upcoming presidential elections is the septuagenarian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is constitutionally barred from running for the office. He recognizes that the election result will have a profound impact on his own rule and on the stability of the Islamic Republic. So behind the scenes, he has been doing everything in his power to make sure that the election serves his interests. But the eleventh-hour declarations of candidacy by Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s president between 1989 and 1997, and by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff and close confidant, have made his task more difficult.
The first part of Khamenei’s four-pronged strategy is to conduct an orderly election. The nightmare scenario for Khamenei is a repeat of the June 2009 presidential election, in which allegations that Ahmadinejad had stolen victory from his challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, led to massive demonstrations and the birth of the popular reformist Green Movement.
Khamenei could have stayed above the fray, as elites expected him to do. Instead, he lost credibility as a neutral arbiter when he sided with Ahmadinejad, rejected all allegations of fraud, and blamed Ahmadinejad’s opponents for inciting violence. His offer of public support for the president opened a fissure among the elites that has never quite healed. It also preceded a massive crackdown on activists who were castigated as American stooges and arrested. Even more, the disputed election alienated millions who felt truly robbed of their voices.
Given that history, Khamenei has made a concerted effort this time around to discredit potential protesters before they take to the streets. The Revolutionary Guards and security forces have launched a propaganda campaign to link any interruption on election day or after to the United States and its purported plans to destabilize the regime. For example, Yadollah Javani, the head of the political bureau of the Revolutionary Guards, has warned that the slogan “free and fair election” is a U.S. code word for sedition. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
The West has committed an “unforgivable sin” against women by defining them as merely objects of pleasure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Iran’s National Women’s Day. The supreme leader claimed that Islam grants women equal rights and honor, while Western lifestyle degrades them. He also warned that irreparable damage to family values will lead to the West’s collapse, according to Fars News Agency.
Die Nachrichten aus der Machtelite Irans werden immer skurriler. Für westliche Beobachter unfassbare Ereignisse spielen sich in der Periode vor der nächsten Präsidentschaftswahl im Juni 2013 im Iran ab.
Präsident Ahmadinedschad scheint es gelungen zu sein die Prätorianer hinter Ali Khamenei vollständig gegen sich aufzubringen. Zunächst als brave Marionette Khameneis bewertet, entpuppte sich Ahmadinedschad in den letzten Jahren als Marionette, deren Fäden immer dünner wurden.
Es geht um die Nachfolge Ahmadinedschads. Der von Ahmadinedschad unbedingt favorisierte Rahim Esfandiar Maschaie ist kein Wunschkandidat Khameneis. Mit seiner Ideologie einer iranischen Denkschule, statt einer islamischen Denkschule, stößt er bei den Macht habenden Mullahs auf wenig Gegenliebe. Ahmadinedschad wird nachgesagt er wolle mit allen Mitteln Maschaie als Kandidat durchbringen, der auch gute Aussichten hätte gegen Khameneis favorisiertes Triumvirat Velayati – Hadad Adel – Qalibaf als Sieger hervorzugehen.
Der 12 köpfige Wächterrat wird kommende Woche die Kandidaten auswählen, die sich zur Wahl stellen dürfen. Es heißt, Ahmadinedschad habe Khamenei mit der Veröffentlichung geheimer Dokumente zur Wahlfälschung von 2009 gedroht, falls sein Wunschkandidat nicht zugelassen würde.
Am Montag schlugen die Prätorianer des Regimes zurück. Präsident Ahmadinedschad wurde mit unter einem Vorwand von seinem Haupttross getrennt und durch Mitglieder der Pasdaran in Gewahrsam genommen. Gleichzeitig mussten seine Leibwächter Waffen und Kommunikationsmittel abgeben. Gleichzeitig schwärmten Pasdaran in der ganzen Stadt aus und befragten Ahmadinedschad nahe stehende Personen zu den Geheimdokumenten. Zu den anwesenden Prätorianern zählten Hossein Taeb, Asghar Hejazi, Chef des Geheimdienstes im Büro des Obersten Führers; Mojtaba Khamenei, ehrgeiziger Sohn Khameneis und Gholam Hossein Mohseni Edschei, ehemaliger Geheimdienstminister und jetziger Generalstaatsanwalt.
Nach den sieben Stunden „Privataudienz“ veröffentlichte das Büro von Ahmadinedschad ein Statement es gäbe keine Geheimdokumente bezüglich angeblich gefälschter Wahlen.
Dieser Schachzug sollte dem Präsidenten seine Verletzlichkeit vor Augen führen. Aber Ahmadinedschad ist kein Mann der Angst. Die Welt kann gespannt sein auf seinen nächsten Schachzug. Die Schlacht im Iran ist noch nicht geschlagen.