Power struggle escalates among mullahs
Khamenei refuses to hand over control of State Security Forces to Interior Minister

Reports from within the clerical regime say that in recent letters to the regime's leaders, including Rafsanjani and Khatami, mullah Ahmad Azari-Qomi lashed out at Khamenei and Rafsanjani. He was subsequently expelled from Qom's Theologians Society which is controlled by Khamenei.

In the early years after Khomeini's death, Azari-Qomi was a staunch advocate of the theocratic state and Khamenei. At the behest of Khamenei, on Friday, a number of theology students staged a demonstration in front of Azari-Qomi's house and accused him of collaboration with infidels. Azari-Qomi has been under virtual house arrest for the last two years.

Mullah Va'ez Tabassi, in charge of Astan-e Qods-e Razavi (the Foundation overseeing, among other things, the affairs relating to the shrine of the eighth Shiite Imam in Mashhad), and a Khamenei confidant, pursues the campaign against Azari-Qomi. Mohammad Mohammadi Ray-Shahri, Head of the Special Clergy Court and a former Minister of Intelligence, organized the Friday demonstration. He went to Qom from Tehran and carried with him the resolution of the demonstration, in which only a small number of theology students took part.

In another development, Khamenei is not going to designate the Interior Minister Abdollah Noori as deputy commander of the State Security Forces. Eight years ago, when Rafsanjani first became the president, this post had been handed over to Noori and later to his successor Ali Mohammad Besharati. This matter is said to have badly intensified the conflict between Khamenei and Khatami, whose associates accuse Khamenei of "meddling in the affairs of the Executive Branch" and "disrupting the country's security."

In another sign of deepening internal feuding, a court reportedly charged Gholam Hossein Karbastchi, Tehran's Mayor, with "collaboration" in several cases of embezzlement and banned him from leaving the country. The Head of the Judiciary Mohammad Yazdi belongs to Khamenei's faction. Reports say that many of these cases of embezzlement can be traced to Khamenei, himself.

The infighting among the various factions of the mullahs' regime have taken on unprecedented dimensions since Khatami's election and the resultant troika leadership. Khamenei and the principle of Velayat-e Faqih, described by Rafsanjani as the "essence of the state," have openly come under attack. This uncontrollable trend, as noted by NCR President Massoud Rajavi, has expedited the developments in favor of the Iranian Resistance and brought closer the prospect of the overthrow of the mullahs' religious, terrorist dictatorship by the National Liberation Army of Iran.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
November 11, 1997

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