Iranernes oppnavn på Den øverste leder, Ali Khamenei, er Ali Shah. Ikke spesielt smigrende. Etter Khomeinis død har regimets popularitet sunket. Det støtter seg stadig mer på sikkerhetsapparatet. President Ahmadinejad kan godt være Mr. Clean, og lover å rydde opp. Men skal han vende seg mot sine egne? Nesten alle av mullahene har beriket seg, skriver Martin Woollacott i Guardian.

Khamenei and his fellow conservatives, by contrast, have increasingly come to depend only on the security state, and upon the physical coercion, or the threat of it, which that dependence implies. They have also begun, as it increases, to admit representatives of the security arms into the inner circle of power, hitherto confined to clerics and a few devout laymen. Ahmadinejad is himself a former Revolutionary Guard.
The Islamic republic is both a corrupt regime and one where connections count for everything. All but an honourable handful of the clerico-political class have enriched themselves, some illegally and some by simply taking advantage of their positions. Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad’s 2_kommentar opponent in the election, is one of the most prominent examples, and he suffered for it in the campaign. But among the men who helped get Ahmadinejad in are many who have profited as much or almost as much. Is Mr Clean going to go after them?

Ali Shah’s last stand

The Khamenei regime’s consolidation of power in Iran has a last-ditch feel to it

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