Monday, August 3, 2009

Ahmadinejad Prepares for Second Term amid Crisis

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei today formally approved the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a ceremony boycotted by former presidents Ayatollahs Rafsanjani and Khatami, Kameneie congratulated Ahmadinejad, praising him as brave, hard-working and wise man.

"I am endorsing the presidency of this brave, hard-working and wise man as the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran," said Khamanei.

Ahmadinejad begins his second term much weakened by a surprisingly strong and unwavering opposition movement against his presidency. A fragile de-facto co-existence arrangement between the opposition and the government is taking shape. This blogger believes that a long period of balance of fear has begun; the opposition and the government unable to topple the other, needing to postpone the endgame to a later date, perhaps the next presidential election.

Developments outside Iran, however, might tip the balance in favor of the opposition sooner than expected. The Obama administration is expected to impose real and harsh economic sanctions against Iran if the uranium enrichment issue is not resolved by year’s end, including an embargo on export of gasoline and other oil refined products to Iran. Gasoline imports to and oil exports from Iran are essential to the country’s economy and the government’s standing in the country.

I disagree with Mr. Khamenei that Ahmadinejad will be that brave, wise soul to lead the country out of its current crisis.

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