Iranian reformers call for investigation of Supreme Leader Khamenei
Posted by sanityinjection on August 14, 2009
In a major development in Iran’s constitutional crisis, a group of former reformist lawmakers has written a letter to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani demanding an investigation of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:
Although the demand is almost certain to be ignored, such an action is unprecedented in the history of the Islamic Republic. Rafsanjani, a former President of Iran, heads a body called the Assembly of Experts. Under the Iranian Consititution, the Assembly has the power to replace the Supreme Leader, though it has never done so. The reformists argue that the street violence and prison torture of protesters is ultimately the responsibility of the Supreme Leader and calls into question his qualifications and capacity for the office.
It’s important to note that the reformists did not call for the abolishment of the position of Supreme Leader or the weakening of his powers (which would require constitutional change) but only criticized the individual who holds the office. The Assembly is composed mostly of conservatives who are unlikely to sympathize with this demand. But for such a demand even to be publicly made at all breaks a major taboo in Iran against direct criticism of Khamenei, and could inspire others to express their opposition to the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime.