Mayor’s arrest and elections to the Assembly of Experts:
The fate of Khamenei’ or velayate faqih in the balance?
The Khamene’i faction will do anything to ensure a tame Assembly of Experts
Before the new year celebrations interior minister Hojjatoleslam val-Moslemin Abodollah Nuri was rudely interrogated in the Majles, which was also a scene of physical violence. As soon as the new year’s bad omens were safely seen off on the 13th day  the mayor of Teheran was arrested. These events rather than being a continuation of the conflict which were shaped around the presidential elections of May 1997, should be seen as part of a battle over the domination of the third Assembly of Experts (majles khebregan) whose election are due this summer.
The Assembly of Experts is the institutional expression of a governing system where the right to rule is given over exclusively to the religious jurisprudences (faqihs), meaning clerics belonging to the upper ranks of the clergy. Its job is to chose, and where necessary remove, from among all the faqihs available, the valiy-e faqih, the apex of the power pyramid of the Islamic Republic. The Assembly of Expert’s membership is made up exclusively from mujtahids .
Article 107 of the Annex to the Constitution states: “The task of appointing the Leader shall be vested with the experts (khebregan) elected by the people. The experts will review and consult among themselves concerning all the fuqaha  possessing the qualifications specified in Article 5 and 109. In the event they find one of them better versed in Islamic regulations, the subjects of the fiqh (religious jurisprudence), or in political and social issues, or possessing general popularity or special prominence for any of the qualifications mentioned in Article 109, they shall elect him as the Leader. Otherwise, in the absence of such a superiority, they shall elect and declare one of them as the Leader” . The Constitution do not define the duration of the leadership, but notably do not recognise it as leadership for life. In other words the end of leadership and the death of the leader are not one and the same thing.
According to Article 111 of the Constitution the conditions for removing a leader and electing another are the inability of the leader to fulfil his constitutional duties, losing one of the conditions for acquiring the leadership (such as justice or virtue) or the awareness to the fact that he was lacking in or more of the conditions from the beginning.
In short the law allows the elected members of the Assembly of Experts in each particular session to remove the “leadership” because of his inability to fulfil his lawful duties, or for losing the necessary conditions for taking up the post of leadership in the fist place. Furthermore, Experts in a subsequent Assembly can overturn the decision of a previous session, or sessions, for the reasons outlined above and which they can interpret in any way they see fit, and remove the chosen leader of a previous Assembly of Experts.
While Khomeini was alive, the importance of the Assembly of Experts was of course not in appointing or removing the leader, but in who to chose to replace Khomeini. It was only after the latter’s death that this institution acquired a real existence and, at least in legal terms, its jurisdiction has become meaningful.
For the hand-picked “khebregan” in the second (and current) session of the Assembly of Experts, chosen under particular circumstances, the right to remove the leader was more a constitutional right than a real consideration. It would appear that until the meeting which took place a few months ago in Mashad, a situation which drew attention to this role had never arisen .
But the next (third) session of the Assembly of Experts may ignore the rules of the game in previous sessions and transform the right to remove the leadership into a practical proposition. This possibility comes out of the present conditions in the country. The main characteristics of the political climate of Iran today can be defined as increasing pressure for an overthrow from below and a corresponding push to restructure the system of power from above.
Aiming at the head
In the period starting with the presidential elections in May 1997, the various efforts at both overthrowing and restructuring the Islamic government have converged on one point - the “head” of the ruling system. Some groups want to turn this head to the “left” or “right”, others insist on changing it, yet another group want to limit its power. There are those who think it is essential to change the way he is elected. Finally some, and on evidence an increasing number, believe the only solution is to chop it off .
These tendencies were expressed symbolically, and through the ballot box, in the presidential elections. In the months since their expression have became increasingly more direct and transparent. Criticism of the ruling political system and its leadership apparatus is no longer confined to opposition or academic circles, but has surfaced in open letters, and speeches of high ranking clergy such as Ayatollah Azari Ghomi and marja’ taqlid  like and Grand Ayatollah Montazeri . Moreover call for such reforms has moved beyond the theoretical to specific political demands ratified by resolutions in open rallies .
The “dilemma” of leadership in the political system ruling the country is accepted even by the dominant faction, with the difference that for them the solution is to increase the power of the institution of leadership as much as possible, concentrate all governing power in the hands of the leader, and putting an end to the dual power that the current structure represents . This faction, which thanks to the selection of Khamene’i as the clerical ruler of the Islamic government of Iran, has concentrated in its hands all the most important posts in all the key centres of power of the country, such as the Council of Guardians , the judiciary, the armed forces, police, ministry of information and other institutions linked to the leadership apparatus. Now not just content with having the existing leader in his post, they wish to intensify his factional prejudice and bias .
It is in such an atmosphere that elections to the third Assembly of Experts is underway. While the main task of the Assembly is defined as guaranteeing the health of the leadership apparatus, it not hard to predict even now that its first sitting will have the leadership “dilemma” and “crisis” on its agenda. The answer they come up with will obviously depend on the factional make up of the assembly.
One possible combination could lay the blame for the illegal activities of the judiciary and security system firmly on the doorsteps of the current leader. He could be held responsible for the autocratic behaviour of the Council of Guardians  and for the financial and bureaucratic corruption of the huge economic foundations such as the bonyade mostaz’afan. They could, consequently vote against his sense of justice, his virtue or his equilibrium .
An alternative combination could authorise a savage clampdown on all criticisms of the leadership - something the second Assembly of Experts avoided . Such an Assembly could become a guardian of the leadership, rather than fulfil its constitutional role of surveillance and control. This is an Assembly those holding the levers of power in Iran today want. Months ago they began their enterprise to realise this aim.
According to the Constitution the Assembly of Experts is an elected organ, whose delegates serve for eight years. The same Constitution gave the right to draft the rules for these elections to the Experts themselves , thus in practice creating conditions where genuine participation of the people could be eliminated. In the election rules, initially set by the Council of Guardians and subsequently put into practice with some changes, the right of ordinary citizens was limited to “electing”. To be elected is the exclusive right of the clergy, and not just any muula: they must firstly be a mujtahid , and secondly their political and ideological allegiance to the governing system must be beyond doubt.
Five conditions were set for candidates to the khebregan: reputation for piety, confidence and moral worth, total familiarity with the foundations of ijtihad (this was raised to attaining the degree of ijtihad by the first Assembly in 1990); possession of political and social vision and being familiar with current affairs; belief in the Islamic Republic order; and not having a harmful political or social record. With a text so flexible and open to interpretation, the real electors to the khebregan are in practice those persons and authorities who have the power of interpreting the law and vetting the suitability of the candidates.
For the first Assembly of Experts this choice was given over to the teachers of the religious seminaries. A reference by three well known and senior seminary lecturers was all that was needed for a candidate to stand for election. In their final sitting the Experts in the first Assembly transferred this right from the seminaries to the faqihs in the Council of Guardians.
This move had two major consequences. Firstly, the statutory relations between the apparatus of the state and the clerical apparatus was offset to the disadvantage of the clergy. Secondly, it limited interference by the various political-factional tendencies existing within seminaries and made it easier to narrow down the circle of those eligible to stand for election.
It is ironic that in practice the leader, the very man the Experts were supposed to select, controlled the election of the Assembly. This is because the Council of Guardians - i.e. the filter thorough which the khebregan have to pass - are themselves chosen by the leader. In the election to the second Assembly this change in the law allowed the Guardians to exclude candidates from the faction known as the “Imam line”. Among the more prominent rejects were Ayatollah Karrubi, once Speaker to the Majles, and Ayatollah Bayat his deputy and a Ghom Seminary teacher.
Vote your allegiance
Today the will of the leader and his hand-picked faqihs in the Council of Guardians in “appointing” the khebregan is being challenged by a series of factors. Chief among these are the relations of power in the clerical apparatus, the balance of power in the government apparatus, and peoples electoral behaviour. If in the election to the second Assembly of Experts these factors cause little headache, and the Assembly was “moulded” at minimal cost, the same “moulding” today, if not impossible, would be troublesome, costly and with unpredictable consequences.
In the Islamic Republic elections do not represent a system which relies on universal suffrage and on equal right for its citizens. On the contrary here elections define an order which rests on a denial of universal suffrage and of equal rights for its citizens. This characteristic is more transparent in the “elections” to the Assembly of Experts, where the usual sexual-religious apartheid is openly and explicitly completed with a state-clerical apartheid.
In the logic of the Islamic Republic the relation between elections and the electoral rights are inverted. The less people are denied the choice the more they are duty-bound to participate in the elections. For this regime participation in elections is a “ceremony of allegiance” (beiat). It is a yardstick of the legitimacy of their order.
Whenever this legitimacy itself is questioned, elections becomes a “demonstration of power” which the ruling clergy use to prove their ability to control the population and their power to force the people to submit to their policies and will. For years the people, or at least an swelling majority, have responded to being denied their rights to political participation by not taking part in “demonstrations of power and allegiance” such as elections. They have, therefore, indirectly turned the elections on its head and used these to call to question the legitimacy and power of the government and to ridicule its will and its interests.
Whenever given the chance, they have used the ballot to deliver a direct blow: even if they could not vote for those who truly represented them, when given the chance of rejecting those they hated most, they did not hesitate. Last May’s election was one such opportunity [see iran bulletin no 15-16]. The particular conditions prevailing at that juncture gave the people in their millions, a chance to cast a vote of no confidence to the political system, and doubly so to its leadership. Therefore if people were to be given once again the chance to chose between those who wish to keep Khamene’i in power and those who want to challenge him, the vast majority have already cast their vote!
The “election” risk for the ruling faction in the Assembly of Experts derives from the fact that, firstly, the people are targeting the most vulnerable point for the regime’s equilibrium: its “head”. Secondly, this time round, their passive involvement has been transformed into an active engagement. The regime is being ambushed for a direct hit to push it off balance. With such an electoral behaviour, the dominant faction must know that if people enter the voting booths, they will express their opposition. The extraordinary boycott of the recent mid-term Majles elections was certainly an omen .
In conditions where “elections” are threatened from two sides by a negative vote or a boycott, the well trodden path is to fill the voting boxes by the aid of the “commanders of Islam” . But even this weapon, today more than ever a solution to the electoral impasse for the dominant faction, is more difficult than ever to engineer: after all the Minister of Interior is occupied by Abdollah Nuri, one of the leaders of the opposite camp. With him at the helm the chances that the election headquarters, an indispensable tool to retouch the voting figures, will co-operate is remote.
The few million votes of the “dependants” of the regime: the Pasdaran, The Komitees, the security forces and their family will stand out against the 33 million votes cast in the presidential elections last year. The reputation of a discredited leader will be further tarnished, and his authority, already questioned from top to bottom, will be under further attack. Even more significant are the possible, unpredictable and potentially damaging consequences.
Enough is enough
An election in the manner the Council of Guardians has hitherto been addicted to, one which conjures the desired result for the ruling faction, today faces more than just a negative vote and boycott: it faces collective protest. If the solution to an election boycott is to fill the ballot boxes, the potential answer to protest is to resort to violence. After the May 1997 elections this too has become problematic, especially if it is to appear under the banner of the law.
Since May developments in rapid succession are ploughing Iran’s political field. A recourse to violence today calls for greater care and vigilance. Social movements have acquired new mobility. Workers, women, and youth are able to mobilise much better. Their movements have cracked the defensive shell of the last few years. No longer are they in a struggle for survival or to limit government interference at personal level or work place. They are making demands that address their rights and interests.
Pressure groups, whether in the shape of trade and professional associations, or of embryonic political parties, are on the increase. They target their protest at the monopolistic policies and acts of the ruling faction. Resting on their legal legitimacy, they attack the institutions close to the leadership apparatus more recklessly than before.
The organisation of political meetings rallies, and other forms of protest are gradually becoming daily fare for these groupings. There has been an explosion of newspapers and magazines, and resistance against official and unofficial censorship is growing by heaps and bounds. Since the information monopoly by the ruling faction has cracked with the appearance of numerous dailies, weeklies and monthlies, these movements gain an increasing echo inside and outside the country. The independent and semi-independent press is itself becoming tools for organisation, and for opening up the political climate.
Attempts by the Council of Guardians to forge an Assembly of Experts with “obedient” and highly selected materials must, in these circumstances, expect a very broad backlash. An indiscriminate use of hezbollahi thugs (which in the last few months has become the main instrument of violence against opponents) to confront these reactions is also not without its dangers. Especially if thugs attack rallies and meetings which had obtained prior authorisation from the interior ministry (and this has become much easier under the tutelage of Abdollah Nuri). There can be no guarantee that these do not lead to explosive and uncontrollable reactions. If official security forces and the judiciary intervene at this point, this would be tantamount to an all out declaration of war between the official organs under the control of the leadership on the government of Khatami - not an impossible eventality .
This development, if it becomes explicit, will usher a new phase in the political crisis. When only the sword can break the entangled knot of power and the system, then with the present perspective, it would be simpler to bet on the losers than chose the winners.
The removal of Afshar as head of the Pasdaran Corps by Khamene’i is evidence of the concerns for such an eventuality. Khamene’i was forced to agree to his removal after a chorus of protest at the use of security forces and basij [mobilisation] in attacking the prior-authorised gatherings of students in protest at the decision of the Council of Guardians to eliminate many of the candidates of the mid-term elections. The “dear leader” had either to deny the undeniable, or to defend “unlawful repression” of “lawful gatherings” and the autocracy of the organs of repression against a lawful government. His replacement - Safavi - was, unsurprisingly, of the same hue .
Not the same clergy
Governing in the old way and “elections” in the traditional mode, is also made more difficult today by developments in the clerical apparatus that have already taken place, or are about to take place. Developments within the clerical apparatus over the last decade has made it more resistant to urging or submitting under duress to the decisions of the leadership apparatus and the Council of Guardians. Particularly if the decisions are about an institution, such as the Assembly of Experts, where the clergy’s share of power is decided, and where the mechanism through which this share is realised is shaped.
The clerical apparatus is far less centralised today than before the last elections to the Assembly of Experts eight years ago. In place of a number of high ranking important marja’ - like Khomeini, Golpayegani, Najafi Mar’ashi, Araki etc. there are now dozens of younger clerics, carrying the title of Grand Ayatollah who are considered “marja’ taqlid” . To the same extent that the power and influence of today’s marja’ are more limited than their predecessors, unanimity and agreement among them is also less. The vacuum of a religious authority, has heated up the climate of rivalry and contests for control of the clerical apparatus and ultimately for a greater share in government.
Since Khomeini’s death no one of the stature of Golpayegani exists in this apparatus who can take a “leader” - a religious featherweight like Khamene’i - under his wing and block out the objections of others.
For a lesser cleric like Khamene’i who is neither a mediator between the various politics tendencies in the religious seminaries, nor the real representative of the existing power balance within the clerical apparatus, the approval and support of the majority of the “newly promoted” marja’ would appear unlikely. Indeed support by one group merely repels another. In such conditions to shape an “obedient” Assembly of Experts means no lass than excluding an even greater number of potential candidates. The circle of the delegates may be narrower than ever, and a larger, and more heterogeneous, section of the clergy would inevitably be provoked into confrontation.
For the ruling elites the discord of Khatami’s administration with the main ruling institutions, and the schism caused by this in the system of power, is at the root of all present troubles. They reject the proposition that the root of the crisis is not at the top but in the relations of above and below; a gulf which in the specific situation of last May was expressed in the election of Khatami as president. In their views today’s logic dictates advancing, not retreat.
In their view to retreat in front of the independent moves by the many groups that have appeared, and to submit to the emergence and spread of political and social institutions outside the rule of the velayate faqih is nothing short of allowing a complete siege of the ruling order. To accept a restructuring of power is seen as bending to chaos: whether this restructuring is aimed at inside the apparatus of government or in the relationship of the government and the clerical apparatus. The cause of the unrests and disorder, the “excessive demands” of some groups and the “extortion” of the clerical apparatus is the government of Seid Mohammad Khatami. If this cause is not removed, these maladies will spread to other groups and sectors, and things will go truly out of control. Not only would the freedom of action of the Council of Guardians will be curtailed, and its schemes for a pliant Assembly of Experts thwarted, but the present leadership, the factions close to him and even the whole of the dominant polity of the velayate faqih will be without future.
The solution they have arrived at is to move the historic clock back, to before the May elections: Khatami must be forced to submit or to be removed. This policy has to be set in motion before history becomes unrewindable. Whether the above summary is accepted to all the groupings within the ruling faction current events show that the ground is set for taking such a policy forwards.
Remove the president?
Article 110 of the Constitution allows the Leader to dismiss the President under the following conditions:
Article 113: Section 10. Dismissal of President of the Republic, with due regard for the interests of the country, after the Supreme Court holds him guilty of violation of his constitutional duties, or after a vote of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, [the Majles] testifying to his competence on the basis of Article 109 of the Constitution.
Many of the acts of the Majles and the judiciary can be seen as trying to fulfil the conditions when this article can be put into effect. The Majles, alongside tactics of unbalancing of Khatami’s budget,  has been “questioning” ministers almost daily. In particular this has been a way of constantly harassing the interior ministry, and perhaps with the person of the minister - Nuri - to absolve himself from the charge of mismanagement. It is no secret that the ruling faction’s parliamentary group are exercising their muscles for the impeachment of the cabinet.
The judiciary is being more open. The skill and speciality of this organ in hostage taking and fabricating charges had been repeatedly on show. Whenever a terrorist working for the regime was captured in another country the machinery went into action: arrest a citizen of that country, accuse them of something or other, convict them and then sit down to talks over an exchange of “captives” .
Internal conflicts have also been tackled using this well oiled and validated machinery. It appears that the orders by the Leader to “fight corruption”, is one of the most useful tool in the hands of the cliques controlling the judiciary. “Fighting corruption” is an excuse to question the financial sources for Khatami’s election last May, and in this way question the whole legitimacy of his election . Whether this weapon will help the ruling faction in its designs and, for example, force Khatami and his cabinet to compromise, or resign; or what other tricks the organs under the control of the ruling faction have up their sleeves, the consequences of the use of such weapons and setting off on such paths are questions that need further consideration .
What one can forecast now is that:
Firstly: the arrest of Teheran Mayor Karbaschi an a number of his colleagues in mayor’s office (later released on bail) and other government institutions is part of the dossier elaborately being built up for the president. Right or wrong, the people who are organising these arrests, are, from their point of view, gathering materials that will come useful in building the next Assembly of Experts.
Secondly: the more the ruling faction feels itself boxed in, and the darker its prospects, the greater its tendency to moves and acts that are outside conventional and rational logic. It will be drawn into what can only be termed adventurism and political gambles. The country could be led into a phase of rapidly evolving developments with unpredictable consequences.
Ardeshir Mehrdad and Mehdi Kia
1. On the 13th day of the new year Eid celebrations it is mandatory to leave town in order to rid oneself of bad omens for the rest of the year.
2. A mujtahid is a cleric who has reached a high enough level of knowledge - ijtihad - to be able to use independent logic.
3. Fuqaha (also spelled foqaha) or faqihs = a person versed in religious jurisprudence.
4. Annex to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic ratified in 1987, Teheran
5. The sittings of the AE are held in secret and its deliberations are seldom published. However some of its more important decisions or incidents are unofficially revealed, often during interviews or speeches.
6. See Velayate Faqih - a system on its deathbed, iran bulletin no 17, January 1998
7. Source of emulation. In Shi’i Islam the believers can follow (emulate = taqlid) the religious authority (marja’) of their choice.
8 . See iran bulletin no 17, January 1998
9. For example the student rally in Teheran University on the need to make the leadership electable - that is to abolish the Assembly of Experts.
10. These can be summarised in the “republic” which relies on a popular vote and a caliphate which represents the will of God on earth. At present these two are represented respectively by an executive (and directly elected) president, Khatami, and the valy-y-e faqih or supreme clerical ruler chosen by the clerical apparatus and currently occupied by Khamene’i.
11. A body, chosen by the leader which vets all laws passed by parliament to ensure compatibility with Islamic laws, and with veto power over all electoral candidates - see also later in present article.
12. Such views are expressed in their most explicit form in papers such as Shalamcheh and Sarallah, or in the slogans of the organised gangs moving under the umbrella title of Ansare Hezbollah. More veiled versions appear in the speeches of some of the leaders of the right such as Ayatollah Yazdi, Ayatollah Movahhedi Kermani etc.
13. The latest was the elimination of all candidates from Khatami’s camp in the recent mid-term elections to the Majles, ignoring widespread open protests in the country.
14. See the open letter by Ayatollah Azari Ghomi, member of the Assembly of Experts and a respected and influential cleric in the Ghom religious seminary. And also Ayatollah Montazeri’s speech to the assembled clergy in Ghom on the anniversary of the birth of Ali, the Prophets’ son-in-law. Both were openly highly critical of the current leader Ayatollah Khamene’i. Khamene’i, and in general the whole leadership structure and its dependent institutions, have been criticised on numerous other occasions: Ayatollah (now Grand Ayatollah) Musavi Ardebili, speaking in Ghom, lamented the general popular contempt for the Islamic government. He warned the system, and specifically the clerical apparatus, of the general weakening of religious belief in the country. He placed the blame for this malaise on the actions of the regime, and by implication on the leader where the final responsibility for the health of the system stops. He pointed to bad policies, bad administration and uncalled for extremism for the fact that today less than 20% of the people accept the regime. He warned that the clerical apparatus and the institute of the Shi’i marja’ taqlid [see 5 above], which survived for a thousand years on the back of popular support and legitimacy, is today in acute danger in the name of Islam and Islamic government. The same points were made more explicitly and in greater detail in an open letter signed by 385 religious seminary teachers, researchers, and clergy in April. They defended the position taken by Ayatollah Montazeri in the anniversary speech alluded to above and strongly condemned the attacks on his home and office by agents linked to the repressive apparatus. They called his house arrest an affront to the Shi’ite marja’, a negation of the principle of ijtihad which has been reaffirmed in the Constitution, defiling the image of the system and the principle of velayate faqih, hurting the feelings of those who care for the revolution, misusing the name of Khomeini, and ignoring his will and testament.
15. According to unofficial reports proposals, in the final days of the Second Assembly, by some of delegates to try Montazeri and to remove Azari Ghomi for insulting the leadership was rejected.
16. According to the Constitution the election regulations, the requirements for candidates, the supervising organs, which in the election for the first Assembly were in the hands of the Council of Guardians, was then turned over to the Assembly of Experts itself.
17. About 6% and 15% of eligible voters in Teheran and Isfahan respectively bothered to vote.
18. As the Pasdaran Corpse (revolutionary guards) are known
19. In a leaked report of a private meeting held with leading clergy in Ghom, new Pasdaran commander Safavi is said to have threatened to resort to revolutionary means - meaning above the law - to counter the threats to the system which he warned now come from some who wear a turban - an unambiguous reference to Khatami’s administration. This is an ominous sign that the ruling faction may now be prepared to go beyond the law.
20. Asking for more money for the military-security apparatus and other organs under the control of the dominant faction while closing up the government’s sources of income - e.g. taxation
21. Recent examples include a German businessman arrested for sexual act with a Muslim woman after a Berlin court announced the involvement of the Iranian government at the highest level with assassination of opponents abroad, and the British award winning film director Gwynne Roberts arrested (and later released) in Kurdistan as a tit for tat for British foreign minister’s tough line on Salman Rushdie and his praise on MI6 for its successes in combating Iran's nuclear weapons programme.
22. The arrest of Teheran’s mayor Karbaschi, was based on accusations of misdeeds committed by him when he was a close associate of ex-president Rafsanjani. He is accused of misusing public funds to support Khatami’s election. This accusation not only questions the legitimacy of the presidential elections, but also places a cloud over the behaviour of Rafsanjani and his cabinet. A Majles deputy called the arrest and prosecution of Karbaschi an indirect arrest and prosecution of Rafsanjani. The reaction of Rafsanjani’s family, and especially his daughter to Karbaschi’s arrest, the attacks by hezobllahi thugs on the meeting held in the ministry of interior to applaud the actions of the mayor, and Rafsanjani’s severe censure of those who had sanctioned such a foolish act and plunged the country (meaning the regime) into its most acute crisis of the last 18 years can be understood in this framework.
But why Rafsanjani is the indirect target of these attacks, charges and malicious propaganda is understandable if one considers his influential position within the Assembly of Experts, his views on the need for reforms in the political order - reforms that will make it more durable - and the possibility that in the present balance of power he has the potential power to ride the wave, and manoeuvre himself to emerge as the next clerical ruler. Thus his speech in defending Karbaschi and criticising his arrest was in essence an election speech using the popularity of Teheran’s mayor, which increased even more after his arrest
23. Karbaschi was released under intense pressure of public opinion, and the resulting fierce reaction from circles within and outside the country. He was released on bail. When he was under arrest, the interior minister had ridiculed the judiciary by asking what kind of judicial system do we have that rapidly turns everyone it arrests into a hero. If this statement is an exaggeration with regards to Teheran’s mayor, it exposes a reality: the profound popular hatred for the judiciary and other organs under the control of Khamene’i’s leadership.
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