Are Days Numbered For Iran’s Presidency?
November 22, 2011
A member of Iran’s Parliament is claiming that a secret committee has been convened by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to do away with the office of Iran’s presidency.
The existence of the committee and the job that it has been assigned was recently made public by Mohammad Dehghan, a conservative member of Iran’s parliament. Analysts consider Mr. Dehghan a reliable source because of the close relationship that he shares with Khamenei.
There is chatter that the presidency, an office chosen by direct election of the people since 1989, could be replaced by an office of prime minister. This transition would make for an easier removal of a defiant head of government should conflict arise between that head and Ayatollah Khamenei.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Iran’s current president. He will complete his second term in 2013. The Ayatollah and Mr. Ahmadinejad have had an increasingly antagonistic relationship as Ahmadinejad has become more insubordinate in recent years.
Khamenei is no doubt dubious of the power that the office of the presidency holds. Since the position was created by a constitutional amendment in 1989, presidential elections have been a direct route to political power for many of Iran’s most notable reformists.
How the Ayatollah would do away with the office of the president is unclear. The process for amending Iran’s constitution is protracted and could cause a political face-off between Khamenei and many on Iran’s political left.