Ahmadinejad versus the Clergy

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In Farsi

No. 5, August 2008

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has taken advantage of Iranian millenarianism in a well-orchestrated power play to bypass the established clergy. While Ahmadinejad's populism is unlikely to ignite a messianic revolt against the clerical establishment, its manifestations--most notably leaks about the clergy's involvement in economic corruption--will weaken their authority and allow the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to consolidate further control over the power structures of the Islamic Republic.

A wave of millenarianism is sweeping over Iranian society.[1] Amid social and economic unease, and with eschatological anticipation high, many Iranians interpret even the most mundane matters as signs of the realization of Shia prophecies of the end of the world and the imminent emergence of the Hidden Imam, often called the Imam of the Era in Persian-language sources. Communicated through both the Internet and mobile phones, millenarian rumors have mobilized the masses and occasionally led to riots.

Traditional Shia Millenarianism

Mainstream Shia doctrine holds that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, leadership of the Muslim community passed to a succession of twelve imams, beginning with Imam Ali (599-661 AD) and continuing through the Twelfth Imam, Muhammad ibn Hassan al-Askari (born 868 AD), also known as Muhammad al-Mahdi. The Mahdi did not die, but in 873 or 874, went into what became known as the Lesser Occultation to escape persecution at the hands of caliphs fearing potential rivals. He briefly reemerged in 940 before entering the Greater Occultation and will return only before the Day of Judgment to purge both corrupt politicians and dishonest clergy and usher in an incorrupt and just Islamic government on earth.[2] Traditional Shia therefore believe that any government existing prior to the Mahdi's reemergence is by definition unjust, corrupt, and imperfect. This interpretation is the basis of the quietism--the avoidance of any direct role in governance--to which the majority of Shia clergy subscribe, including such figures as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Iraq and Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi in Iran.

The Iranian judiciary need not look far for those who claim contact with the Hidden Imam, for the Islamic Republic's own president has, on several occasions, done so. Ahmadinejad's belief may be as much political as religious.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini turned this mainstream exegesis on its head when, in 1970, he published Velayat-e Faghih: Hukumat-i Islami (Guardianship of the Jurist: The Islamic Government)--a compilation of his lectures written while he was in exile in Iraq--which argued that senior clerics could act as placeholders for the Hidden Imam and so could run government in his stead.[3] This became the theological basis that underlies the Islamic Republic installed in Iran after the 1979 revolution. Islamic Republic authorities must take millenarianism seriously, for any discussion of the Mahdi's return undercuts the legitimacy of the Iranian government. After all, if the Mahdi returns, there is no need for placeholders to remain in power. Indeed, the Iranian constitution stipulates as much when it declares the supreme leader's authority to be valid only "during the Occultation of the Wali al-Asr (may God hasten his reappearance)."[4] After the Hidden Imam's reemergence, the executive and spiritual leadership of the Iranian state and society will pass to the savior, and the supreme leader will be out of a job.

Millenarianism Boils Over

While Ahmadinejad has raised the profile of millenarianism in Iran, prior to his assumption of the presidency, religious superstition was already widespread. In November 2003, for example, rumors swept the Islamic Republic that God had punished a woman who had desecrated the Quran in Qom by transforming her into half woman, half tiger. A digitally altered photo of the "tiger-woman" circulated widely, raising the profile of the incident. When rumors spread that she had been arrested, thousands of people stormed the local police station to see her. When police denied that she was in custody, the mob attacked the station, beat several policemen, and set nearby banks and shops ablaze.[5]

Under Ahmadinejad, however, millenarianism has blossomed. Millenarian incidents now occur with increasing frequency. In May 2007, a mob invaded the Tehran neighborhood of Shahrak-e Gharb to see "the shadow of the Imam of the Era" in a pattern left on a wall by a leaking drain pipe.[6] In February 2008, law enforcement forces in the Kordestan province arrested a woman who claimed she could cure the terminally ill because she was the reverend mother of the Prophet Muhammad.[7] In June, a religious sect emerged in Qom calling itself "Followers of the Thirteenth Imam." Its followers broke with both Shia and Sunni tradition by facing toward Jamkaran--from whence many Shia believe the Mahdi will return--rather than Mecca for prayer.[8] A clearly exacerbated public prosecutor complained not only about people claiming to be imams reincarnate, but also about people claiming to be the Fourteenth Imam.[9]

Mashhad--the largest city in eastern Iran and home to the shrine of Imam Reza, the Eighth Imam--has, along with Qom, become a breeding ground for millenarianism. According to the Nowsazi News Agency, a "deviant sect" led by Seyyed Khorasani has arisen in the city, claiming that any government formed by man is imperfect. In the absence of infallible imams, the sect argues, any government is a revolt against God and must be defeated, a necessary condition for the hasty emergence of the Imam of the Era.[10] The Iranian press has reported similar instances of millenarianism in Behbahan, Karaj, Esfahan, Tehran, Tabriz, Saqez,[11] and even Shia communities outside Iran.[12]

The intensity and severity of such cases has led Seyyed Mehdi Khamoushi, head of the Islamic Propagation Organization, to warn against innovation, superstition, and religious deviation that he said have "always been utilized by foreigners to infuse their ideology and points of view into the Islamic society of Iran."[13] Influential Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi; Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Salimi, prosecutor of the Special Clerical Court; and Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Rowhani, representative of the supreme leader in the Supreme National Security Council, also repeated the warning.[14] The problem has become so severe that according to the newspaper Kargozaran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a decree to the judiciary to deal decisively with "those claiming contact with the Imam of the Era."[15]

Ahmadinejad's Millenarianism

The Iranian judiciary need not look far for those who claim contact with the Hidden Imam, for the Islamic Republic's own president has, on several occasions, done so. Ahmadinejad's belief may be as much political as religious. A chronological survey of his millenarian speeches suggests political rationale for the seemingly irrational. Ahmadinejad's millenarian discourse can be divided into four distinct phases, each serving a distinct political purpose (see table 1).

The first phase--general mention of the Hidden Imam and the imminence of his reemergence--legitimized millenarian arguments in political discourse and prepared the public for justification of policy based on eschatological expectations. During this phase, Ahmadinejad and his followers claimed that belief in the savior was progressive,[16] not superstitious, and that the government served the purpose of preparing for the emergence of the savior.[17]

Once the public became accustomed to millenarian discourse, the second phase began with claims that Ahmadinejad's administration and the president himself were miraculous and enjoyed the benevolence of the Hidden Imam.[18]

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Indeed, Ahmadinejad and his supporters attribute his escape from alleged U.S. kidnap and assassination plots[50] and "victories" such as his speech to heads of state at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to the miraculous intervention of the Mahdi. Indeed, Ahmadinejad commented that at the UN, he felt a "halo of light" above him,[51] while at Columbia University, he said he felt the presence of the Imam of the Era.[52] Such rhetoric serves the purpose of extending divine legitimacy to Ahmadinejad.

The clergy look at the Iranian president's claims of miracles and direct contact with the Mahdi with suspicion and consider his actions to be political infiltration into religion, over which the clergy claim a monopoly. Ahmadinejad's reference to direct contact with the Mahdi, if believed, also makes the clergy superfluous.

Ahmadinejad's eschatological rhetoric and the millenarian discourse necessitated calibration to political realities in the Islamic Republic. The third phase, therefore, underscored ideological adjustment. Thus, it was at this time that Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi entered the debate to insist that belief in the Imam of the Era is compatible with adherence to the supremacy of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.[53] Mesbah-Yazdi sought to reconcile the two by arguing that the Islamic Republic is simply an early manifestation of the rule of the Imam of the Era,[54] who is the executive leader of all world affairs.[55] Even the grotesque claim that Ahmadinejad's government represents the era of Zohour-e Soghra (the minor emergence)--creating a parallel to the Hidden Imam's Lesser and Greater Occultation--aids ideological adjustment.[56] Ahmadinejad even links Iranian nationalism with the cult of the Hidden Imam, which is ironic because Iranian nationalism is often anti-Arab in character, and the Hidden Imam himself was Arab.[57]

If the rhetoric of phase three sounds outlandish to Western ears, it does not sound much better to many Iranians. A number of leading Shia clerics have criticized the Iranian president's abuse of the public's religious beliefs (see table 2). Ahmadinejad and his followers responded with a fourth theme in their millenarian discourse, exposing those who oppose the Hidden Imam's reemergence. Thus, clerical critics of Ahmadinejad's policies become, in the discourse of the president and his followers, enemies of God.[58]

Clerical Criticism of Ahmadinejad

A survey of clerical criticism of Ahmadinejad demonstrates two themes: Ahmadinejad's incompetence in handling inflation and his abuse of Shia millenarian beliefs for political purposes. The first strain of criticism fits into standard clerical practice of speaking truth to power when religious figures feel government has gone astray, although, ironically, it is one that has been retarded since the revolution put clerics themselves into power. The inflation issue is particularly sensitive because the lower-income groups--the most devout in Iranian society--suffer most. Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli challenged the Ahmadinejad government's claims about the true level of inflation and insisted that there indeed is such a thing as "rising prices and inflation."[59] His criticism was shared by powerful religious leaders such as Ayatollah Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili,[60] Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi,[61] and even long-time Ahmadinejad supporter Mesbah-Yazdi.[62] From the left of the political spectrum, Ayatollah Ebrahim Amini, the Friday prayer leader of Qom, warned against "galloping inflation," homelessness, high rents, and malnourishment among the poor.[63] Not satisfied with just criticizing the economic policies of the Ahmadinejad government, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said, "You can't improve the economy by raising beggars"[64] and suggested that the Ahmadinejad government spreads poverty rather than wealth.

The Shia clergy's protests against Ahmadinejad's millenarian discourse should not be surprising. Ahmadinejad's background is in the military, not theological seminaries. He has little formal training in theology. The clergy look at the Iranian president's claims of miracles and direct contact with the Mahdi with suspicion and consider his actions to be political infiltration into religion, over which the clergy claim a monopoly. Ahmadinejad's reference to direct contact with the Mahdi, if believed, also makes the clergy superfluous.

Palizdar the Proxy

Ahmadinejad's "messianism" chafed the clergy throughout the first years of his administration, and the tension between the president and the religious establishment boiled over on May 27, 2008, when Abbas Palizdar--a former director of fundamental studies at the Research Institute of the Iranian Parliament and a member of an investigations committee under the Supreme Audit Court investigating cases of economic corruption[65]--exposed 123 cases involving alleged

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economic corruption among high-ranking Iranian clergy during a speech at the University of Hamadan.[109] Subsequently, reports surfaced that he had made similar accusations during a speech at the University of Shiraz.

Effectively a proxy for Ahmadinejad in his battle against entrenched religious interests, Palizdar made allegations about clerical malfeasance ranging from illegal acceptance of automobiles from Iran Khodro, Iran's largest automobile manufacturer, to lax attitudes in the fight against drugs, illegal takeovers of mines and factories, luxurious lifestyles, and even moral issues (see table 3). While Iranians understood Palizdar's attacks against Rafsanjani in the context of the rivalry between Ahmadinejad and the former president, Palizdar's attacks against the seemingly God-fearing Friday prayer leader of Mashhad, Ayatollah Alam al-Hoda, and against the Friday prayer leader of Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammed Emami-Kashani, were particularly damaging to the image of the clergy. Palizdar appeared a perfect proxy for Ahmadinejad because, like the president, he was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War, having volunteered at age fourteen.[110]

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Initially, the Iranian officialdom sought to ignore Palizdar. His speeches received no attention in the state-controlled press for a couple of weeks.[111] But the story spread on the Internet, and foreign broadcasters such as Voice of America-Persian, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Radio Farda pursued his allegations--Farda even aired an interview with Palizdar in which Palizdar claimed Ayatollah Hossein Nouri-Hamadani, chairman of the judiciary committee of the Iranian parliament, had attempted to suppress the findings of his investigations.[112] The press was forced to react. Initially, they sought to minimize Palizdar's importance. The Research Institute of the Iranian Parliament claimed to have no knowledge of an employee by his name and even threatened Palizdar with legal action for claiming to work for the institute.[113] Hassan Kamran, another official serving on the investigations committee, also claimed ignorance of Palizdar's membership, although the committee was forced to retract his statement when documents proved Palizdar's employment.[114] After Alef News Agency released the news that Palizdar had earlier run for local Islamic Council elections on the Pleasant Scent of Servitude--the parliamentary faction supporting Ahmadinejad and featuring his son[115]-- Ahmadinejad's brother Davoud, the chair of the Special Investigations Office of the Presidency, condemned the crisis that Palizdar had "sparked off"[116] in society.

The press then turned to character assassination. Fars News Agency and Kayhan--a newspaper whose editor is a direct appointee of the supreme leader--both claimed Palizdar had been involved in an embezzlement scandal as a shareholder in a dairy factory,[117] and Kayhan wrote that Palizdar had stolen top secret information on the Iranian military, allegations also repeated by the Revolutionary Guards Sobh-e Sadegh weekly.[118] Raja News Agency said that Palizdar's master's degree from a university in Maryland was fake.[119] In a reference to Palizdar, Friday prayer leader of Tehran Ayatollah Mohammed Emami-Kashani assured the Iranian public that "plotters and accusers are bound to be punished by God,"[120] and a week later, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami depicted the Palizdar affair as "conspiracy and sabotage against the Islamic Republic."[121]

On June 11, 2008, security forces arrested Palizdar on charges of "economic abuse, false accusations, spreading of lies in order to disturb the public mind and spreading of rumors."[122] In subsequent days, police arrested a number of alleged Palizdar associates--including parliamentarians[123]--sparking demonstrations in Tehran that took riot police and tear gas to disperse.[124]

Indeed, the rioting is indicative of the frustration ordinary Iranians feel over corruption among their leaders and the lack of accountability of many clergy to the law. Several Ahmadinejad supporters leapt to Palizdar's defense. Nowsazi News Agency, which generally supports Ahmadinejad's policies, depicted Palizdar as "a decent man."[125] On a website close to the student wing of the paramilitary Basij, a certain Dr. Taha Jazayeri stressed the necessity of an open trial at which not only Palizdar, but also allegations of elite corruption could be investigated.126 The Islamic Society Association, which had invited Palizdar to Hamadan, stressed the importance of airing public criticism.[127] In a not-too-subtle show of support, Ansar News Agency released pictures--which now have been removed--of Palizdar as a soldier in the Iran-Iraq war to mobilize support from war veterans.[128]

Conclusion

Iranian society often turns to millenarianism during times of uncertainty because of a lack of legal channels for expressing political dissatisfaction. Ahmadinejad's fantastic claims of miracles and direct contact with the Hidden Imam use these beliefs to his advantage. He presents his government grotesquely as one paving the road for the emergence of the Shia messiah and blames the ills of the state-controlled economy on the enemies of the Imam of the Era who want to delay the Day of Judgment. If his assertions take hold, they will dislodge the clergy from their monopoly on religious interpretation. After all, what use is there for the rule of the supreme leader as the intermediary between man and the Imam of the Era if the Iranian president manages to democratize access to the Shia messiah? In the long run, such a development would undermine the authority of the senior clergy in the political affairs of the Islamic Republic.

As the president interfered more in religious matters, the clergy increased their criticism of Ahmadinejad's economic management and, understandably, his primitive use of millenarianism. Then came the Palizdar affair--Ahmadinejad's apparent response. Rather than getting involved in a theological battle that he and his supporters would have lost to intellectually superior Shia clergy, Ahmadinejad used the Palizdar affair in an attempt to taint the clergy and further damage the sanctity of men of God.

While neither Ahmadinejad's millenarianism nor Palizdar's corruption allegations will ignite a revolt against the clergy, they have already tarnished the clergy's image. In the never-ending battle for predominance among the Islamic Republic's pillars, the Revolutionary Guards, from which the laical Ahmadinejad rose, are the chief beneficiaries of the weakening of the clergy. And so, as two battle-hardened veterans declare war on the clergy, the victors will be the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps: the self-perceived holy warriors of Islam could take political power by claiming direct communication with the divine element without the Shia clergy as intermediaries. The Shia clergy would then have to take up once again their historical role of protecting the Shia community from abuse at the hands of rulers.

Ali Alfoneh ([email protected]) is a visiting research fellow at AEI and a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Copenhagen.

Mr. Alfoneh thanks the Royal Danish Defense College for its support of his research and Washington Institute for Near East Policy visiting fellow Mehdi Khalaji for his insights. AEI resident scholar Michael Rubin and associate editor Christy Hall Robinson worked with Mr. Alfoneh to edit and produce this Middle Eastern Outlook.

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Notes

1. For an introduction to millenarianism in Iran in times of economic and social upheaval, see Abbas Amanat, Resurrection and Renewal: The Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), 1-29. See also Mehdi Khalaji, Apocalyptic Politics: On the Rationality of Iranian Policy (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, January 2008).
2. Mohammad-Javad Mashkour, Tarikh-e Shi'e va fergheh-ha-ye Eslam, 5th ed. (Tehran: Ketabforoushi-ye Eshraqi, 1993), 124-25, 132.
3. Ruhollah Khomeini, Velayat-e Faghih: Hukumat-i Islami (Tehran: Amir Kabir, ca. 1978).
4. Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, art. 5.
5. "'Zan-e babr-nama' Qom ra be ashoub keshid," BBC Persian (London), November 9, 2003.
6. Picture available at www.persianhub.org/interesting-pictures/131874-sayeh.html#post1133577 (accessed June 30, 2008).
7. "Vizheh: Bazdasht-e zani ke khoud ra hazrat-e Khadijeh mo'arrefi mikard," Shahab News (Tehran), February 2, 2008.
8. "Do sokhanrani va yad-avari-ye yek so'al-e bozorg dar-bareh-ye afzayesh-e khorafat," Shahab News, June 22, 2008; and Mehdi Khalaji, Apocalyptic Politics.
9. "Bazdasht-e modda'i-ye emamat-e chahardahom.dar Qom!" Asr-e Iran (Tehran), June 22, 2008.
10. "Zohour-e fergheh-ye enherafi dar Mashhad," Nowsazi News Agency (Tehran), June 22, 2008.
11. "Do sokhanrani va yad-avari-ye yek so'al-e bozorg dar-bareh-ye afzayesh-e khorafat," Shahab News.
12. "Ede'a-ye emamat-e yek divaneh dar shahr-e Seida," Raja News (Tehran).
13. "Doktor Seyyed Mehdi Khamoushi: Moghabeleh ba khorafat az rouy-kard-ha-ye asli-ye Sazeman-e Tabliqat-e Eslami ast," Agahsazi (Tehran), June 19, 2008.
14. "Ta'kid-e yek marja'e taqlid: Barkhord-e ghate'e ba moda'iyan-e doroughin-e hazrat-e Mahdi," Shahab News, June 12, 2008; "Hoshdar-e dadsetan-e vizheh-ye rowhaniyat darbareh-ye ed'ea-ha-ye dorough-e ertebat-e ba Emam-e Zaman," Shahab News, May 29, 2008; and "Rowhani: Khorafat-zadegan mikhahand masir-e enghelab ra monharef konand," Shahab News, February 19, 2008.
15. "Farman-e Rahbari darbareh-ye moda'iyan-e Emam-e Zaman," IRNEW (Tehran), May 31, 2008.
16. "Nowbat-e E'temad-Sazi-ye gharb ast," Iran (Tehran), January 15, 2006.
17. "Ahmadinejad: Dast-andar-karan-e omour-e farhangi faraham-kardan-e sharayet-e zohour-e monji ra dar dastour-e kar gharar-dahand," Abrar (Tehran), November 10, 2007.
18. "Agar dast-e vela-yi-ye Emam-e Zaman naboud, in dowlat az pay dar-mi-amad," Raja News.
19. "Nowbat-e E'temad-Sazi-ye gharb ast," Iran.
20. "Ahmadinejad: Dast-andar-karan-e omour-e farhangi faraham-kardan-e sharayet-e zohour-e monji ra dar dastour-e kar gharar-dahand," Abrar.
21. "Re'is-e Jomhour dar jam'e olama va rohaniyoun-e Ostan-e Ardebil: Dowlat dar hal-e baznegari dar siysat-ha-ye farhangi ast," Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) (Tehran), November 22, 2007.
22. "Balatarin resalat-e farhangi-ye ma da'vat be Emam-e Asr ast," Mehr News Agency (Tehran), December 6, 2007.
23. "Hojjat al-Eslam Safayee: Emrooz, nirou-ha-ye mossallah-e ma, nirou-ha-ye mossallah-e Emam-e Zaman hastand," Sepah News (Tehran), February 23, 2008.
24. "Ab'ad-e tazeh-ye enteqad az safar-e Khatami be Amrika," BBC Persian, September 6, 2006.
25. "Re'is Jomhour: Be zoudi vaght-e eslahat dar Daneshgah Azad fara-miresad," Abrar, November 13, 2007.
26. "Ahmadinejad: Niazmand-e hozour-e fa'al dar faza hastim," Aftab News (Tehran), February 4, 2008.
27. "Ahmadinejad naghsheh-ye roboudeh-shodanash dar Eragh ra fash kard," Alef News Agency (Tehran), June 19, 2008.
28. "Agar dast-e vela-yi-ye Emam-e Zaman naboud, in dowlat az pay dar-mi-amad," Raja News.
29. "Hekayati az ekhlas va eradat-e Ayatollah Mesbah nesbat-e be rahbari," Ansar News Agency (Tehran).
30. "Nowrouz va ekhtera'e pishineh-ye dini bara-ye an," Deutsche Welle Persian (Berlin), March 21, 2008.
31. "Agar dast-e vela-yi-ye Emam-e Zaman naboud, in dow-lat az pay dar-mi-amad," Raja News.
32. "Alam Al-Hoda: Agar Emam-e Zaman jahan ra modiriyat nemikonad, pas che emamati bar ma darad?" Asr-e Iran.
33. "Pasokh-ha-ye Re'is-Jomhour be khabarnegaran-e dakheli va khareji," Agahsazi (Tehran), May 14, 2008.
34. "Re'is-Jomhour bayad az Emam-e Zaman sokhan begouyad," Ansar News Agency.
35. "Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: Hokoumat-e Eslami-e Iran jelveh-I az velayat-e Emam-e Zaman ast," Ansar News Agency.
36. "Dowran-e Ahmadinejad, dowran-e zohour-e Soghra," Rooz (Amsterdam), March 12, 2008.
37. "Mahkoumiyat-e Arash Bahmani, Babak Mehdi-Zadeh va Kouhzad Ismaili, a'za-ye Sazeman-e Danesh-Amoukhtegan be habs," Advar News (Tehran).
38. "Ahmadinejad: Sohbat-e man darbareh-ye Emam-e Zaman elmi boud, chera maskhare mikonid?" Entekhab News Agency (Tehran), May 13, 2008.
39. "Davood Ahmadinejad: Tashkil-e komiteh-ye estekbari aleyh-e eslam," Raja News.
40. Kasra Naji, Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 94.
41. "Yek mohaghegh-e mahdaviat: Doshmanan ba tamam-e ghova be meydan amadeh-and," ISNA, December 19, 2007.
42. "Bavar-e Emam-e Zaman Mamnou'e," Fatemah Rajabi's website, May 13, 2008.
43. "Eddeh-I az nam-bordan-e Emam-e Asr narahat mishavand," Ansar News Agency.
44. "Mokhalefat ba Ahmadinejad ya Emam-e Zaman?" Ansar News Agency.
45. "Ahmadinejad: Olgou-ha-ye barnameh-rizi va modiriyat ba'd az enghelab gharbi boud," E'temad-e Melli (Tehran), June 14, 2008.
46. "Imam Khomeini. Siysat-madar ya haghighat-madar?" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's personal memos, June 11, 2008, available in Persian at www.ahmadinejad.ir/fa/imam-khomeini/ (accessed June 17, 2008).
47. "Tajjamo'e tarafdaran-e Mesbah aleyh-e Ghovveh-ye Ghazayiyyeh," Emrooz (Tehran), May 3, 2008.
48. "Pirouzi-ha-ye khod ra madiyoun-e Emam-e Zaman hastim," Ansar News Agency.
49. "Saqqa-ye Bi-Riya: Koutah-fekran va rowshan-fekr-namayan hagha-yegh-e masjed-e Jamkaran ra khorafeh-gouyee midanand," E'temad (Tehran), June 22, 2008.
50. "Ahmadinejad naghsheh-ye roboudeh-shodanash dar Eragh ra fash kard," Alef News Agency.
51. "Imam Khomeini. Siysat-madar ya haghighat-madar?" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's personal memos.
52. "Re'is Jomhour: Be zoudi vaght-e eslahat dar Daneshgah Azad fara-miresad," Abrar.
53. "Hekayati az ekhlas va eradat-e Ayatollah Mesbah nesbat-e be rahbari," Ansar News Agency.
54. "Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: Hokoumat-e Eslami-e Iran jelveh-I az velayat-e Emam-e Zaman ast," Ansar News Agency.
55. "Alam Al-Hoda: Agar Emam-e Zaman jahan ra modiriyat nemikonad, pas che emamati bar ma darad?" Asr-e Iran.
56. "Dowran-e Ahmadinejad, dowran-e zohour-e Soghra," Rooz.
57. "Nowrouz va ekhtera'e pishineh-ye dini bara-ye an," Deutsche Welle Persian.
58. "Ahmadinejad: Sohbat-e man darbareh-ye Emam-e Zaman elmi boud, chera maskhare mikonid?" Entekhab News Agency; "Bavar-e Emam-e Zaman Mamnou'e," Fatemah Rajabi's website; "Mokhalefat ba Ahmadinejad ya Emam-e Zaman?" Ansar News Agency; "Ahmadinejad: Olgou-ha-ye barnameh-rizi va modiriyat ba'd az enghelab gharbi boud," E'temad-e Melli; "Tajjamo'e tarafdaran-e Mesbah aleyh-e Ghovveh-ye Ghazayiyyeh," Emrooz; "Pirouzi-ha-ye khod ra madiyoun-e Emam-e Zaman hastim," Ansar News Agency; and "Saqqa-ye Bi-Riya: Koutah-fekran va rowshan-fekr-namayan hagha-yegh-e masjed-e Jamkaran ra khorafeh-gouyee midanand," E'temad.
59. "Tavvarrom va gerani vojoud darad," Abrar, April 28, 2008.
60. "Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili: Gerani-ye akhir ehsasi va sho'ari nist," Abrar, April 19, 2008.
61. "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: Gerani dar jame'e ghowgha mikonad. Masoulani ke tavanayi-ye kar nadarand nabayad masouliyat bepazirand," Abrar, December 8, 2007; and "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: Gerani-ye maskan ghowgha mikonad," Abrar, April 19, 2008.
62. "Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: Nasl-e Ayandeh dar ma'raz-e khatar ast," Abrar, April 19, 2008.
63. "Tavvarrom-e afsar-gosikhteh mardom ra besotouh avardeh ast," Emrooz, May 3, 2008.
64. "Hashemi Rafsanjani: Eqtesad-e keshvar ba godaparvari dorost namishavad," Etemaad-e Melli, May 19, 2008.
65. "Sanadi tazeh bara-ye esbat-e dorough-e bozorg-e Markaz-e Pazshouhesh-ha-ye Majles," Entekhab News Agency, June 13, 2008; and "Niazi: Palizdar dar hey'at-e tahghigh va taffa-hos semat dashteh ast," Entekhab News Agency, June 16, 2008.
66. "Enteghad az 'ghodrat-e avval-e jahan' namidan-e Iran tavvassot-e Ahmadinejad," Asr-e Iran, March 1, 2008.
67. "Ayatollah Allah-Badashti: Ahmadinejad bayad estizah shaved," Asr-e Iran, May 14, 2008. 68. "Tavvarrom-e afsar-gosikhteh mardom ra besotouh avardeh ast," Emrooz.
69. "Tavvarrom va gerani vojoud darad," Abrar.
70. "Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli: Mobarezeh ba fesad-e eqtesadi ba begir va beband nemishavad," Agahsazi, May 2, 2008.
71. "Enteqad-e Do'a-Gou az tagh'irat-e kabine," Emrooz, April 20, 2008.
72. "Dar marasem-e mo'arefeh-ye farmandar-e Shemiranat rokh dad: Jedal-e lafzi bein-e emam-e jom'e va maghamat-e dowlati," E'temad, June 2, 2008.
73. "Dorri Najaf-Abadi: Moda'ian-e ertebat-e ba Emam-e Zaman sar dar astin-e biganeh darand," Shahab News, May 31, 2008.
74. "Ayatollah Fatemi-Niya ta'kid kard: Entesab-e barkhi mataleb be Emam-e Asr khalaf-e adab entezar ast," Raja News.
75. "Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani: Ettela'-resani sha'n-e anbiya ast," Agahsazi, May 10, 2008. 76. "Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani: Dar modiriyat-e keshvar eshkal vojoud darad," Agahsazi, May 19, 2008.
77. "Hashemi Rafsanjani: Agar rah-e Emam ra az dast bedahim eshtebah-e bozorgi kardeh-im," Abrar, June 2, 2008.
78. "Hashemi: Agar mardom zadeh shavand dalili bara-ye voroud be mahlakeh-ha nemibinand," E'temad, June 2, 2008.
79. "Hashemi Rafsanjani: Eqtesad-e keshvar ba geda-parvari dorost nemishavad," E'temad-e Melli, May 19, 2008.
80. "Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani: Hich kas malek-e hich bakhshi az Daneshgah-e Azad nist," Agahsazi, May 2, 2008; and "Hashemi Rafsanjani: Dar sourat-e feghdan-e Daneshgah-e Azad nimi az javanan az tahsil mahroum mishavand," Abrar, May 19, 2008.
81. "Hashemi Shahroudi: Moshkel-e eqtesadi-ye keshvar jeddi ast," Abrar, June 24, 2008.
82. "Karrubi khatab be Ahmadinejad: Baradar-e man shoma se sal ast ke masoul-e dowlatid," Emrooz, April 23, 2008.
83. "Karrubi khatab be Ahmadinejad: Be ja-ye entesab-e modiriyat-e khod be Emam-e Zaman moshkelat ra be Amrika va khoshksali nesbat dahid," Aftab-e Yazd.
84. "Emam ba estekhareh keshvar ra edareh nemikard," E'temad, June 2, 2008.
85. "Mesbahi-Moghaddam: Emam-e Zaman Tavvarrom-e 20 darsadi nemipasandand," Asr-e Iran, May 7, 2008.
86. "Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani Dabir-e Jame'ye Rowhaniyat-e Mobarez-e Tehran: Nabayad farafekani konim va moshkelat ra be gardan-e digaran biyandazim," Agahsazi, April 17, 2008.
87. "Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani: Bara-ye bayan-e haqayeq nabayad az ahadi haras dasht," Agahsazi, April 17, 2008.
88. "Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, dabir-koll-e Jame'e-ye Rowhaniyat-e Mobarez: In sokhanan ra nabayad agha-ye Ahmadinejad begouyad," Agahsazi, May 11, 2008.
89. "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: Gerani dar jame'e ghowgha mikonad. Masoulani ke tavanayi-ye kar nadarand nabayad masouliyat bepazirand," Abrar; and "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: Gerani-ye maskan ghowgha mikonad," Abrar.
90. "Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: Bayad dar bareh-ye mahdaviat jelo-ye afrad-e dorough-pardaz va khorafe-gou ra begirim," E'temad-e Melli, June 9, 2008.
91. "Enteghad-e Ayatollah Makarem az tavvarom va mafased-e eqtesadi," Alef News Agency, May 28, 2008.
92. "Enteghad-e organ-e Ayatollah Mesbah az didar Ahmadinejad va hamsar-e doctor Fatemi: Mossaddeq va vazirash kha'en boudand," Asr-e Iran, April 17, 2008.
93. "Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi: Nasl-e Ayandeh dar ma'raz-e khatar ast," Abrar.
94. "Dowlat mossabbeb-e asli-ye tavvarrom ast / talash bara-ye 'omran va eshteqal-zayee natijeh-ye aks dadeh ast," Asr-e Iran, May 8, 2008.
95. "Kasi ke Emam-e 'Asr ra ziyarat konad be zaban nemi-avarad,"Fars News Agency, May 28, 2008.
96. "Emam-jom'e-ye Tabriz: Hazf-e yaraneh-ha fe'lan monaseb nist," Alef News Agency, June 13, 2008.
97. "Ebraz-e ta'assof-e Ayatollah Montazeri az mahroumiyat az tahsil-e daneshjou-yan," Advar News, June 5, 2008.
98. "Ayatollah Montazeri va bahayian: Mokhalefat-e sarsakht va hoghough-e shahrvandi," BBC Persian, May 24, 2008.
99. "Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili: Gerani-ye akhir ehsasi va sho'ari nist," Abrar.
100. "Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi: Negah 'Afiyat-talabaneh be Mahdaviat, 'amel-e sosti va din-gorizi ast," Agahsazi, May 6, 2008.
101. "Nateq-Nouri: Edde'a-ye agahi az zaman-e zohour kazb ast," Noandish (Tehran), October 16, 2007.
102. "Re'is-e sazeman-e bazresi-ye koll-e keshvar: Sazeman-e Bazresi be sabeghe'I az mafiya-ye eqtesadi naresideh ast," Agahsazi, April 21, 2008.
103. "Enteghad-e Ayatollah Nouri-Hamadani az gerani," Asr-e Iran, May 22, 2008.
104. "Pour-Mohammadi: Nagahan migouyand shabakeh-ye mafiya-yi vojoud darad," Agahsazi, May 15, 2008.
105. "Hojjat al-Eslam Rastgou: Hurrah-keshidan va kaf-zadan dar barnameh-ha-ye koudak ghabel-e paziresh nist," Asr-e Iran, May 11, 2008.
106. "Hassan-e Rowhani dar hamayesho-e Markaz-e Tahghighat-e Estratezhik matrah kard: Hasht so'al-e asasi darbareh-ye siyasat-e khareji," Emrooz, March 1, 2008.
107. "Rowhani: Keshvar, keshvar-e Emam-e Zaman ast, ya'ni che?! 'Enayat-e Emam-e Zaman bar sar-e mardom-e mast," Entekhab News Agency, June 5, 2008.
108. "Ayatollah Sane'i: Imam Khomeini az din bara-ye 'avam-faribi estefadeh nakard," E'temad, June 10, 2008.
109. "Yek magham-e ettela'ati: Dastgah-e ghazayee gaf dadeh!" Rooz; "Yek sokhanrani-ye janjali ke vakonesh-e maghamat-e rasmi ra be donbal dasht," E'temad, June 10, 2008.
110. "Pedar-e Abbas-e Palizdar: Dar Majles ham in gozaresh ra khandeh boudand," Radio Farda (Prague), June 13, 2008.
111. Akbar Montajebi, "Efshagari ke khod mofsed-e eqtesadi shod!" Shahrvand-e Emrooz, June 15, 2008.
112. "Abbas Palizdar: Az rou-ye sanad va madrak harf zadam," Radio Farda, June 9, 2008.
113. "Towzih-e Markaz-e Pazhouhesh-ha-ye Majles darbareh-ye hamkari-ye agha-ye Abbas Palizdar ba in markaz," Alef News Agency, June 9, 2008.
114. "Kamran: Palizdar ertebati ba taffahos az ghoveh-ye ghazayiyeh nadarad," Sayeh News (Tehran), June 10, 2008; "Niazi: Palizdar dar hey'at-e tahghigh va taffa-hos semat dashteh ast," Entekhab News Agency, June 16, 2008; and "Ettela'at-e tazeh dar mored-e fa'aliyat-e do-saleh-ye Palizdar dar Markaz-e Pazhouhesh-ha-ye Majles," Entekhab News Agency, June 11, 2008.
115. "Sayt-e nazdik be dowlat dorough-e khod ra hazf nakardeh ast," Alef News Agency, June 9, 2008.
116. "Moze'-giri-ye Davour Ahmadinejad darbareh-ye ezharat-e Palizdar," Alef News Agency, June 19, 2008.
117. "Takhrib-e masoulan va sou'e estefadeh-ye 6 milliard toumani az beit al-mal," Fars News Agency, June 10, 2008; and "Farar-e be jolo ba pa-ye liz," Keyhan, June 11, 2008.
118. "Asnad-e nezami?" Sobh-e Sadegh (Tehran), June 23, 2008.
119. "Fowgh-e lisans-e ja'li-ye Palizdar," Raja News Agency.
120. "Emami Kashani: Bohtan-zanandegan gereftar mishavand," Alef News Agency, June 13, 2008.
121. "Ayatollah Khatami: Hoshdar midaham, prozheh-ha-ye mahfeli-ye takhrib dobareh aghaz shodeh," Shahab News, June 20, 2008.
122. "Palizdar bazdasht shod/Mard-e janjali-ye faza-ye khakestari," E'temad, June 12, 2008.
123. "Yek namayandeh-ye zan-e majles dar jam'-avari-ye ettela'at-e mahramaneh be Palizdar komak mikard," Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Tehran), June 18, 2008; "Bi-ja kardeh har-kas gofte az avardan-e Palizdar be he'at pashimanam," Asr-e Iran, June 11, 2008; and "Baz-jouyi-ye 11 sa'ate az namayandeh-ye zan-e majles," Tabnak News (Tehran), June 20, 2008.
124. "Tajjamo'e moghabel-e Park-e Mellat," Alef News Agency, June 13, 2008; and "Tajjamo'e gheir-e ghanouni va ghorogh-e Park-e Mellat tavassot-e ma'mouran," Asr-e Iran, June 13, 2008.
125. "Mo'amma-ye Palizdar," Nowsazi News Agency, June 14, 2008.
126. "Be-ja-ye takhrib va tohmat, Palizdar rad ar dadgah-e 'alani' mohakemeh konid," Edalatkhaneh (Tehran), June 11, 2008.
127. "Bayaniyeh-ye Jame'e-ye Eslami-ye Daneshjouyan darbareh-ye sokhanrani-ye Palizdar," Alef News Agency, June 11, 2008.
128. The pictures were available on the Ansar News Agency's website at www.ansarnews.com/?usr=news/detail&nid=2003141 (accessed July 16, 2008).

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About the Author

 

Ali
Alfoneh
  • Ali Alfoneh's research areas include civil-military relations in Iran with a special focus on the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in the Islamic Republic. Mr. Alfoneh has been a research fellow at the Institute for Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence College and has taught political economy at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark.

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