Power struggle among mullahs escalates

After a two-week silence, in an interview with the official news agency, IRNA, yesterday, the mullahs ex-president, Hashemi Rafsanjani openly kept distance from Khamenei. He refrained from assailing Montazeri and said that the row between Khamenei and Montazeri was of no concern to him and the Council for the Discernment of the State Exigencies.

Rafsanjani's stance reflects the escalation of the power struggle at the highest levels of the regime. Pro-Khamenei factions and press lashed out at rival factions, including Khatami and his associates who remained silent over the recent incidents, and threatened them of the consequences if they do not condemn Montazeri. At the same time, a group of Khamenei supporters in Tehran's Bazaar called on Khatami yesterday to purge followers of Montazeri from his cabinet and among his confidants.

The leadership of the Assembly of Experts also issued a statement, eight years after selecting Khamenei as the regime's leader, declaring him as fully qualified for the leadership of the regime. Reportedly, not all members of the Assembly of Experts agreed with the statement which is why the statement was issued with the signatures of only the leadership of the Assembly, all of whom are close to Khamenei. The statement reveals Khamenei's shaky and unstable position as never before.

In another development, the regime's Special Court for the Clergy, headed by the former Intelligence Minister Mohammad Mohammadi Rayshahri, closed down Montazeri's office in Mashhad, confiscated the properties therein and threatened to put Montazeri on trial. The court has so far issued verdicts to execute many dissident theology students and clerics.

Following the failure of the week-long demonstrations by pro-Khamenei thugs in Tehran and other cities, the regime announced that it will hold nationwide rallies in support of Khamenei on Friday. The Ministry of Intelligence, the Guards Corps, the central secretariat of Friday prayer leaders and other suppressive organs have been directed to employ all their resources to mobilize the maximum number of people for these rallies.

As the regime's internal feuding has escalated and raged out of control, the leaders of the mullahs' regime are trying hard to put a lid on these conflicts and prevent them from blowing out into the open until after the Islamic Conference summit in Tehran. Mullah Hojjati Kermani, who used to be a supporter of Khamenei, has proposed a month-long cooling off period until after the Islamic Conference summit in Tehran.

In a letter to the leaders of Islamic countries, the NCR President Massoud Rajavi had declared that the mullahs' anti-Islamic regime is not fit to host and preside over the Islamic Conference summit. It will abuse the conference's stature to cover up its internal crises, to suppress the Muslim people of Iran and to export terrorism, Mr. Rajavi had emphasized.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 25, 1997

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