Nytt

Først ble opposisjonen knust med politimakt. Nå er det åpen konflikt mellom de konservative og president Mahmoud Ahmadinejads menn. Det blir stadig tydeligere at Ahmadinejad representerer en type ny åpenbarings-tro som vurderer folk ut fra om de er med dem eller mot dem.

Presteskapet føler at de er i ferd med å bli tilsidesatt. Det er brutt ut åpen strid mellom nasjonalforsamlingen og presidenten. Rafsanjani har ikke vært populær i Ahmadinejad-leiren. Nå er også folk som nasjonalforsamlingens president Ari Larijani falt i unåde.

Conservative rivals of Mr. Ahmadinejad are fighting back, publicly accusing him of sidelining clerics and the Parliament, pursuing an «extremist» ideology, and scheming to consolidate control over all branches of Iran’s political system.
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Mr. Ahmadinejad has often fed the traditional conservatives’ fears; he has referred to the divide among conservatives, warning that «the regime has only one party» in a speech published Monday on his official Web site that provoked outrage among his conservative rivals.

«I think we are seeing a kind of Iranian McCarthyism, with Ahmadinejad disposing of all the people who are not with him by accusing them of being anti-revolutionary or un-Islamic,» said an Iranian political analyst, who refused to be identified for fear of retribution.

Generasjonsskifte

Striden er både generasjonsskifte og maktkamp på en gang. Ahmadinejad er systemets ektefødte barn, og den herskende klasse rygger tilbake i skrekk over hvor radikale de er. De er en blanding av opportunister, teknokrater og messianske shiaer. De er selvbevisste. Selv Khomeinis etterkommere er ikke hevet over kritikk.

Last month, many conservatives were shocked when Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, was prevented from making a speech by pro-Ahmadinejad hecklers at an event to commemorate his grandfather’s death.

«The behavior of extremists who are not open to debate or logic has opened a divide within the principalists,» said Mohammad Ashfrafi-Esfahani, a senior cleric and a member of the body that oversees Iran’s political parties, in comments published by ILNA. «This group spares no one, not even the house of the imam.» Ayatollah Khomeini is referred to in Iran as the imam.

«Ahmadinejad wants a new definition of conservatism,» the political analyst said. «He wants to say that we are the true conservatives and not you anymore.»

The older conservatives, including clerics, lawmakers and leaders of the bazaar, which is the center of Iran’s ancient system of trade and commerce, have long questioned Mr. Ahmadinejad’s competence and even accused his ministers of corruption. But recently they have gone further, accusing Mr. Ahmadinejad’s faction of distorting the principles of the Islamic Revolution and following a messianic cult that rejects the intermediary role of the clergy.

Kamp om posisjoner

Det utkjempes kamper om viktige institusjoner. Ett av dem er Azad-universitetet.

The divisions erupted last month when conservative members of Parliament voted to block Mr. Ahmadinejad’s efforts to seize control of Iran’s largest academic institution, Azad University, which has campuses throughout the country and enormous financial assets. The university was founded by Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, a former president and one of the central figures among traditional conservatives. After the vote, a spokesman for Mr. Ahmadinejad declared that the lawmakers had «aided the conspiracy,» a phrase often used against street protesters and terrorist groups.

The next day, a government-backed demonstration formed outside the Parliament building, with protesters denouncing Ali Larijani, the speaker of Parliament and a conservative rival to Mr. Ahmadinejad. «We will reveal the treacherous MPs,» read one poster shown in pictures published by ILNA, a semiofficial Iranian news agency. In Qum, pro-government students distributed leaflets saying «Mr. Larijani, give us back our vote, you no longer represent us.»

Mr. Larijani struck back, deriding his critics as «impudent, without logic and controversy mongers.»

Under forrige sommers demonstrasjoner ble det trukket sammenligninger med situasjonen da sjahen falt. Nå er det kommet til enda ett moment: regimet er kommet på kant med bazaaris – handelsmennene i basarene.

Det gikk rykter om at staten planla å øke skattene de er pålagt med 70 %. Handelsmennene gikk til streik. Den ble avblåst søndag, etter at det ble inngått et kompromiss: skatten øker med bare 15 %.

Det dypeste skisma gjelder religion: de konservative mener Ahmadinejad representerer en sekt som har vært forbudt, som tror på den 12. imams gjenkomst. Denne retningen er eskatologisk, koblet til politisk islam er den farlig. Men hvordan skal konservative motarbeide noe som springer ut av deres egen tro, og som nå sitter med makten?

A June 21 editorial on Khabar Online, which is believed to be linked to Mr. Larijani, warned of «an extreme movement, wearing the clothes of Islam and the revolution.»

Mr. Nabavi, the newspaper editor, also suggested that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s faction belonged to a cult — banned decades ago by Ayatollah Khomeini — that puts great emphasis on the prophesied return of Shiite Islam’s 12th imam, who is said to have disappeared in the ninth century. The accusation is familiar, but conservatives have until now refrained from making it so clearly and openly.

«These people say they have direct contact with the 12th imam so they can lead us,» Mr. Nabavi said in the interview. «This is not just a matter of opposition to government by the clergy but something much deeper.»

Iran’s President Renews Pressure on Conservatives

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