Khamenei's Deadly Dauphin

The Guardian reports what many activists have been speculating for weeks:

KHAMENEI-MOJTABA The son of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has taken control of the militia being used to crush the protest movement, according to a senior Iranian source.

"Mojtaba is the commander of this coup d'etat. The basiji are operating on Mojtaba's orders, but his name is always hidden in all of this. The government never mentions him," the Iranian politician said. "Everyone is angry about this. The maraji [Iran's most senior ayatollahs] and the clerics are angry, the conservatives are very angry and strongly critical of Mojtaba. This situation cannot continue with so many people on the top against it."

Scott Lucas adds some context:

The source portrays a situation where, in part because of the anger against Mojtaba, the Supreme Leader can rely on only a minority of senior clerics, politicians like Ali Larijani, Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei have been alienated, and key commanders of the Revolutionary Guard such as General Ali Jafari have been angered.

It must be emphasised that this is a single-source story. There are elements which are shaky: for example, General Jafari has swung behind the regime’s crackdown on dissent. The extent of political opposition within the regime also seems exaggerated. Larijani, for one, appears to be sitting on the fence.

Still, there is much here which corresponds with our own sources on divisions in the clerical and political leadership. Definitely a story, if not the story, to watch in forthcoming days.