The winds of change: Which way will they blow for Iran?


Two years after Iranians took to the streets to protest against his re-election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has faced opposition from the ruling clergy amid claims that he has been "bewitched".

The allegation by Ahmadinejad’s former chief-of-staff and closest aide Esfandiar-Rahim Mashaei that he is engaging "deviants, devils and evil spirits is "at its heart a classic elite political showdown" argues author Nasrin Alavi here on OpenDemocracy .

So what can be made of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call yesterday for an end to the split between the ruling clergy and the President?

In 2009 the Supreme Leader dismissed as "shameful" the accusations by his political opponent Mir-Hussain Mousavi’s that the President was engaging in paranormal activity. His silence on the matter two years later was interpreted by Afshin Shah as a sign that "a wind of change is stirring in the conservative camp":

The current pressure on the president is probably a repercussion of a recent disagreement between the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad over the control of the Ministry of Intelligence. As Ahmadinejad digs his heels in, powerful figures close to the Supreme Leader use any pretext to discredit him.

Does the endorsement of Ahmadinejad by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday mean an end to the political turbulence or is it still the case, as Barbara Slavin argues  in Foreign Policy magazine the Supreme Leader intends to keep the President weak? 

At tomorrow’s First Wednesday  we will be discussing the fate of President Ahmadinejad and the power struggle at the heart of Iran’s government.

Two years after the violent repression of Iran’s uprisings, we will also be looking at the impact of the Arab Spring inside the country. What do its leaders make of events unfolding across the Middle East and what impact are they having on the country’s Green Movement? 

Join us tomorrow night when BBC Broadcasting House presenter Paddy O’Connell will be joined by: Saeed Kamali Dehghan, award-winning Iranian journalist who writes for The Guardian;  Potkin Azarmehr, Iranian-born blogger and activist and Sanam Dolatshahi, co-presenter, BBC Persian TV interactive programme.

Book here.