Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Iran Wonders, How Crazy Is Too Crazy?

There are signs the clerics want to rein [Ahmadinejad] in, as he is scuppering a decade of careful ambivalence towards the West. They wanted a conservative, but not one this provocative.

Soon after the election, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, put Rafsanjani at the head of a new council to rein in the Government. But although Rafsanjani has criticised Ahmadinejad openly, it hasn’t worked.

That may yet come. The President has alienated business by threatening to redistribute wealth, and has been unable to make much difference to the poor. Conservatives in parliament, who don’t like his Cabinet, full of fellow Revolutionary Guards, blocked his first three choices for oil minister.

If he overplays his hand, he could be impeached. The Islamic Republic's first President, Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr, was ousted after just 18 months.

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