Advantage Rafsanjani and Mousavi as Opposition Seeks Checkmate

by Fintan Dunne, 29th June, 2009

Influential Iranian former-president, Ayotalloh Rafsanjani has deferred for tactical reasons an emergency meeting of the Assembly of Experts -despite having now secured a majority in favor of convening the powerful clerical body, according to the Iranian political analyst Professor Muhammad Sahimi.

In a telephone interview this weekend, Prof. Sahimi said Rafsanjani and Iran's opposition leaders are biding their time to allow social pressures on Iran's government to intensify. Their aims are to split the government and to detach some commanders of the Revolutionary Guard from supporting the hardline government stance on the official election outcome.

"And if that happens," said Professor Sahimi, "then stronger actions such as an emegncy meeting of the Assembly of Experts to investigate the performance of the Supreme Leader can be done."

The government also now seems to be avoiding a definitive showdown. The deadline to investigate opposition claims of electoral fraud has been extended by five days -postponing the final certification of the ballot.

Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, the Guardian Council spokesman said it had “given another opportunity to Moussavi” to back up his claims of election rigging.

Recent seeming-concilliatory statements by Mousavi and Rafsanjani hint that the tide is in their favor and the battle is on to sway middle ground opinion and engineer a political chess advantage into a final checkmate.

Full interview with Professor Sahimi is below.


Interview Guest: Professor Muhammad Sahimi

Muhammad Sahimi, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and the NIOC professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has published extensively on Iran's political developments and its nuclear program. He is a member of TehranBureau.com a respected independent media group which publishes on Iranian political developments.

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