Essay Downfall of Rafsanjani in Iran

726 Words Jun 29th, 2011 3 Pages Middle East Mar 22, 2011 | | | | Share | More | |

| The downfall of Rafsanjani
By Mahan Abedin

The decision by former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani not to contest elections for the head of the Assembly of Experts indicates that efforts to purge him from the establishment are now almost complete.

The official exit of Rafsanjani from the country's political establishment is the most visible sign of the profound political changes that have taken place over the past 21 months. Asia Times Online has consistently argued since June 2009 - in the immediate aftermath of Iran's controversial Presidential Elections - that Rafsanjani will end up as one of the
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As speaker of parliament in the 1980s and president in the 1990s he was amongst the core group of Shi'ite clerics who dominated the commanding heights of Iranian politics.

Already in decline by the turn of the century, the sun finally set on his empire when a new generation of Iranian politicians, led by current President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, stormed the political scene in 2005. Rafsanjani, determined to fight his corner, poured money into the political campaign of Ahmadinejad's main rival in the June 2009 presidential elections. The outcome of those disputed elections was catastrophic for Rafsanjani and his allies but the old oligarch could have prevented a total collapse had he not made two fatal errors.

First and foremost, Rafsanjani - despite his reputation as Iran's most astute politician - failed to foresee the collapse of factional politics in the Islamic Republic. His immediate post-election strategy centered on presenting himself as an arbiter in a factional dispute. In previous crisis interventions of this kind had benefited Rafsanjani handsomely and earned him grudging respect of all key players in the Islamic Republic's complex political community. But this time around there was no underpinning political infrastructure to support his strategy. The battle lines were not drawn in an inter-factional landscape; this time they were much sharper and effectively pitted Islamic Republic loyalists against an

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