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December 7, 2006

Is Iran's Dictator, Supreme Leader Ayatollah ali Khamenei Near Death?

Topics: Iran

_38453653_khameneiap150_featuredimage.jpgApparently he has been hospitalized:

Khamenei is known to be suffering from cancer, and taking considerable quantities of an opium-based pain killer. He has lost more than 17 pounds in the past ten months, and was told last spring that he was unlikely to see another New Year (In the Iranian calendar, the New Year begins at the end of March).
Apparently we are about to face some changes in Iran, but don't even waste your time thinking we're about to experience a kumbaya moment with a new and improved Iranian regime. On such a posibility, Hot Air offers a perspective to replace your morning wakeup cup of coffee:
... whether or not Iran becomes fully "Ahmadinejadized" will depend on who succeeds Khamenei. The leading candidates include Mahdi's archrival, Rafsanjani, and his "spiritual mentor," Mesbah-Yazdi, a hardcore jihadist nut who's bestowed Koranic sanction on slavery and the use of nuclear weapons, among other things. I say again: the use of nuclear weapons. Not just their construction and stockpiling.

Think of him as the Emperor Palpatine to Ahmadinejad's Vader. And, I guess, Rafsanjani as Jabba the Hutt. He's a plutocrat who topped the list of Forbes's millionaire mullahs back in 2003, so there's at least a chance of him behaving rationally as supreme leader. Mesbah-Yazdi, by contrast, is rumored to belong to the Hojjatieh Society, a secretive messianic Shiite cult within Iran that believes the return of the 12th imam is imminent. He denies it, but that's to be expected: Khomeini himself banned the Society in 1983, so even members of the ruling elite would be leery about advertising their association with it.

Long story short, if Khamenei kicks and the nuts consolidate power, Jim Baker's dream of a grand bargain will explode like the Death Star. A different approach will be required.

It's realities such as these that make me laugh my a** off at Jim Baker and team's suggestions on dealing with Iran.

Posted by Richard at December 7, 2006 10:32 AM

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