Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Supportive of “Effective President,” Again

Ayatollah Khamenei Comments at the Elm-va-San’at University

Ayatollah Khamenei’s presence at the Elm va San’at (Science and Industry) University, ‎was announced earlier, was so unexpected that some conservative media outlets received ‎news of the visit after the event. Iran’s supreme leader, who had cancelled his Saturday’s ‎visit to the University, came to the school after an eight-day delay to once again declare ‎his support for President Ahmadinejad among people who were brought to the forum ‎since the morning and from outside the university. ‎

Although in early December President Ahmadinejad’s Science Minister had announced ‎that ayatollah Khamenei would be visiting the University on December 7 which is ‎commemorated as Student’s Day in Iran as a step to “thwart conspiracies of certain anti-‎revolutionaries,” the meeting was cancelled and, contrary to the expectations of those ‎who thought that Khamenei would instead visit the University of Tehran, he in fact did ‎visit the Elm va Saanat University, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had studied thirty ‎years ago and lectured for some time as well. ‎

This issue became the pretext for the leader of Iran to dedicate a portion of his speech to ‎supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Defending Ahmadinejad by calling him a ‎‎“revolutionary, committed, effective, active and courageous” individual, ayatollah ‎Khamenei said, “The revered and timeless symbol of the holy defense [referring to the 8-‎year Iran-Iraq war] Hajj Ahmad Motevasselian as well as our revolutionary, committed, ‎effective, active and courageous President are among the prominent symbols of the Elm ‎va Saanat University’s alumni.” ‎

This follows a series of instances in which ayatollah Khemenei has expressed his support ‎for Ahmadinejad’s administration. Three months ago, coinciding with Government ‎Week, when some politicians pointed to the country’s tumultuous economic conditions ‎and criticized Ahmadinejad and his administration’s policies, Khamenei publicly ‎expressed his support for the administration during a meeting with cabinet members and ‎accused critics of “opposing the Islamic Republic regime.” ‎

Yesterday’s speech by Iran’s leader at the University was important in another respect as ‎he introduced his desired next president during the speech. ‎

In recent weeks, with increasing criticisms of the ninth administration’s performance ‎surfacing, conservatives, who are the administration’s main proponents, have announced ‎plans such as forming a national unity government to perhaps pass over Ahmadinejad in ‎that way. Nevertheless, yesterday’s speech by the supreme leader in support of ‎Ahmadinejad nullified any such plans. ‎

In his speech yesterday, Khamenei also sent messages to reformists, especially figures ‎such as Khatami who are considering whether to run for the presidency next year or step ‎aside. According to the supreme leader’s office, without referring to any by name, the ‎Khamenei called for courage and self-confidence among officials in “making clear the ‎principles that constitute the regime’s identity,” adding, “If one day, among the country’s ‎officials we find weak and impotent officials like Shah Sultan Hussein [an Iranian King ‎under whose rule the Afghans invaded the country’s capital], the era of this country and ‎the Islamic Republic is over, because weak and impotent officials turn courageous ‎nations into weak nations.” ‎

In a part of his speech, Khamenei apologized to students for being ill and having a weak ‎voice, saying to them, “Although I have been feeling ill for a few days, I did not want to ‎delay this meeting; I was eager to be present among you, students.”‎

The reaction of students present in the hall was obvious. According to Fars news agency, ‎‎“Students prayed for the supreme leader’s health at this point.” ‎

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