Monday, August 17, 2009

Is it a Republic if the Leader is a Dictator?

The New York Times reports today that an anonymous letter, written by clerics, questioning Ayatollah Khamenei’s authority is circulating in Iran. According to the New York Times, the letter accuses Khamenei of fomenting violence in the wake of the June 12 elections and transforming the IRGC into his personal guard. He is, the authors suggest, a dictator.

The cleric’s letter comes at the same time the Assembly of Experts has scheduled an emergency meeting to consider criticism leveled against Khamenei since June 12. The Assembly of Experts theoretically has the power to remove and replace the Supreme Leader.

Khamenei’s removal remains unlikely. But his influence has waned significantly. Once God’s unquestioned representative to the Iranian people, by condoning (if not coordinating) June 12’s election fraud and subsequently attempting to consolidate power, Khamenei has forfeited his position as senior jurist and in doing so, he has forfeited legitimacy conferred upon him by the people and by many clerics in favor of raw force of arms. The import of Republic in Islamic Republic was too often over looked in the Western press.

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