Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the country’s Little Dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have made a serious strategic blunder in trying to quell protests of the country’s sham elections.
Late Saturday, authorities arrested Faezeh Hashemi, the eldest daughter of former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who may be the single most powerful man in Iran. Rafsanjani heads the the Assembly of Experts, a group of senior clerics who have the power to select and remove the country’s supreme leader.
Rafsanjani has been openly critical of Ahmadinejad, who in turn has accused Rafsanjani and his family of corruption. Khamenei has unequivocally supported Ahmadinejad, despite the fact the election was patently fraudulent.
So the strategy Khamenei and Ahmadinejad seize upon to neutralize Rafsanjani — the one man in the country who has the power to topple Khamenei and send Ahmadinejad to the hell he deserves — is to arrest his daughter and four other of his relatives?
I don’t know about Mr. Rafsanjani, but I know how I would react — and it wouldn’t be to slink off into the shadows. Somehow I doubt a man like Mr. Rafsanjani is so easily intimidated. Make a move like that against him, and you haven’t cowed him into silence. You have upped the stakes and guaranteed he is going to do everything in his power to take you out.
Iran’s petty tyrants have done precisely what they should not have done, and we pray they all get what they deserve.
And for all the fussing I have done about President Obama’s low-key approach to this crisis, he has done precisely what he ought to have done too. Empty pronouncements against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would only strengthen their resolve to destroy their opposition. Give them enough rope, on the other hand, and they’ll hang themselves.
If we’re lucky, it will be a public execution.