Khamenei letter on mashaie

The Iranian president's deputy, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, finally steps down after a lengthy standoff between Ahmadinejad and conservative hard-liners. The final straw was a handwritten note from Khamenei himself, which translates:

The appointment of Mr. Esfandyar Rahim-Masha'i as presidential deputy is contrary to your interests and that of the government and a cause for divisions and frustration among your supporters. It is necessary for this appointment to be declared null and void.

Nader Uskowi reacts:

The fiasco has become a major embarrassment for Ahmadinejad who did not expect to come under attach by his natural allies on his very first major decision in post-election Iran.

Juan Cole addresses the issue at length and concludes:

The up side for Khamenei is that even in his weakened state he won on this point. The down side is that some the people have been chanting 'down with the dictator,' and Khamenei has played into their hands by demonstrating himself to be high-handed and to be to the right of Ahmadinejad.

This episode has certainly disabused those who believed that Khamenei was in some way more reasonable and accommodating than Ahmadinejad. Ahmadi was trying to appease the opposition in some ways. Khamenei's dictatorship is uninterested in anything like that. And he, remember, is in charge of foreign policy.

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