Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rafsanjani: shark or kingmaker?

The former president remains unpopular with many Iranians, but he may yet be able to force a re-run of Friday's disputed poll

Simon Tisdall
guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 June 2009

"The man accused by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of masterminding the opposition campaign to oust him from the presidency has dropped out of view since election day. But Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani remains a formidable figure in Iranian politics with a network of well-placed allies straddling the reformist and moderate conservative camps. If any one leader is able to force a re-run of last Friday's disputed poll, it may be the two-term former president nicknamed the "shark".......

If mobilised, his would comprise an elite coalition operating inside the hierarchy of the Islamic Republic, rather than from outside on the streets. It would not be a democratic movement; but it would be a dagger held to Khamenei's breast. Not for nothing is the Machiavellian Rafsanjani, pistachio nut millionaire, pragmatist and ruthless political survivor, known by yet another nickname: the "kingmaker". Iran awaits his next move."

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