Do you know who will be the next supreme leader of #Iran?

A question I get asked frequently: who is going to replace the current Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei?

Do you know the answer? because I don’t. No one knows. The regime has not mentioned any names. So far, all that we have to go on are guesses and assumptions.

The same applied to the 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini was about to pass away and people were wondering who will replace him. Although back then it was relatively easier to list the name of those who could succeed him, as it was (relatively) soon after the revolution and there were more notable candidates.

But even then respectable publications such as the New York Times got it wrong. See the below quote from the May 22 1989 article from the NYT:

In the power struggle that consumes Iran’s ruling clergy, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s son, Ahmad, has emerged as a prime contender to inherit his father’s authority.

The NYT got it wrong, with good reason. The process of choosing the next supreme leader was relatively opaque and secretive during Khomeini’s time, now days under Ayatollah Khamenei its far more opaque and secretive.

The quoted NYT article is a must read. It also provides a fascinating insight into a previously unknown 110 page letter published by Ahmad Khomeini against Ayatollah Montazeri, after the latter was dismissed from his role as Ayatollah Khomeini’s successor. Why? because he lambasted Khomeini for executing thousands of MEK prisoners without a proper trial and on dubious grounds.  Among other things (the late) Ayatollah Montazeri tells Khomeini:

”the crimes of your Ministry of Intelligence and those committed in your prisons are far worse than those of the Shah and Savak, and I speak of detailed knowledge.”

Read the entire article here.

#Iran: the writing on the placard

Placard in red ""an agreement is conditional upon the elimination of all sanctions"
Placard in red “”an agreement is conditional upon the elimination of all sanctions”

Today was the 36th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution.

There were demonstrations all over Iran. People carried placards which were given to them.

Some placards are the usual: like “death to Israel” or “death to America” or as the late founder of revolution Ayatollah Khomeini said “America can’t do a damn thing”.

But others are specific, depending on what message the regime or the government want to convey to the outside world.

And there are two messages which I saw today which stood out. One which called for economic resistance, and another which stated: “an agreement is conditional upon the elimination of all sanctions” (see above).

Iran supreme leader also brought up this point, not once, but twice during his speech on the 8th of February. This is the same speech in which he hinted that Iran would be willing to accept a fair deal.

What I find interesting is that there is no talk from Iran regarding the number of centrifuges (unless I missed it). Does this mean that the two sides have reached an agreement over this issue already? is this why so much emphasis is being placed on Iran’s demand that in case of a deal, all sanctions have to be removed at the first stage, and not gradually as the US has demanded?

I can’t answer this question, because we know very little from what is going on in the negotiation room. But, I think we should note it.

It seems that if the nuclear talks breakdown, judging by the recent reaction from Iran, especially from Ayatollah Khamenei and today’s demonstrations, the question of how quickly sanctions are lifted in case of a deal could be one of the major reasons.