Sunday, May 11, 2008

leader, Responsible for Today’s Condition? ‎

A few days after the publication of the letter of Ahmad Ghabel, a religious reformist who ‎criticized the supreme leader for “assisting a gang's takeover of the country” and ‎‎“dictatorship of one vote,” in his last speech on the floor of the Majlis, representative ‎from Tabriz Akbar Alami blasted Ayatollah Khamenei for miseries imposed on the ‎nation by institutions under his control. ‎
What made the Tabriz representative’s criticism all the more significant was his assertion ‎that "the supreme leader is equal to others in the eyes of law" and that "the supreme ‎leader and his appointees are responsible to the people and must be held accountable for ‎their actions."‎
‎ ‎
Such criticisms of top government officials are ordinary happenings in other countries. ‎However, in Iran, the reaction of the judiciary and paramilitary pressure groups to the ‎slightest criticism of the supreme leader’s responsibilities or performance has been very ‎severe and violent. ‎
Akbar Alami’s speech on the Majlis floor, and his reference to Ayatollah Khamenei’s ‎legal duties, finds new meaning given the Ahmadinejad administration’s mismanagement ‎of the economy, resulting in high inflation and unemployment rates, which have ‎diminished the popularity of the president (and those supporting him) in the public's eye. ‎
The administration, which has been enjoying high oil prices (above hundred dollars per ‎barrel), because of its propaganda efforts, has been identified in the minds of the people ‎as the supreme leader’s favorite administration and, as a result, Ayatollah Khamenei has ‎come to bear the blame for the government’s failures. ‎
On the other hand, Iran's hardline stance in the nuclear case, which has resulted in the ‎passage of Security Council resolutions against Iran, exacerbating the nation's economic ‎woes, has been identified as Ayatollah Khamenei's chosen policy. ‎
The handling of the eight Majlis elections, which were ridiculed as the Islamic Republic's ‎worst election experience, and which was engineered by the Guardian Council, are ‎among other criticisms pointed at the supreme leader. ‎
That Mr. Alami's directed his latest criticism at the supreme leader and the Guardian ‎Council, and not Ahmadinejad, is because of the vast powers given to the supreme leader ‎by the Constitution, enabling him to control all government branches in the Islamic ‎Republic. ‎
An official who has the largest arsenal of legal powers in Iran's history, and in whom the ‎largest amount of constitutional powers are gathered, must find a way of holding ‎institutions under his rule accountable. Otherwise, the supreme leader will no longer be ‎able to blame officials under him, including those in the executive branch, for failures ‎and hope that people will do so too. ‎
No one has yet volunteered in the Islamic Republic to supervise the supreme leader's ‎performance. In the future though, this task may find some volunteers, perhaps in the ‎Assembly of Experts, headed by Hashemi Rafsanjani. ‎