Mashaei Amping Up for Election Season?

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A speech delivered in Kermanshah by Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, President Ahmadinejad’s controversial chief of staff, has once again set the Iranian media abuzz. As the Reformist daily Etemaad reports, the government’s Iran Newspaper even published an article entitled “8 Solutions of Engineer Mashaei for Solving the Historical Paradox (Revolution-Regime).” In his speech Mashaei spoke of the “Revolution” as the original principle and the “Regime of the Islamic Republic” as secondary, adding that the most important “responsibility” of the Islamic Republic is the “management of the Islamic Revolution.” This is interesting since while high-ranking regime officialdom such as the Supreme Leader often refer to the “revolution,” they rarely differentiated it from the “regime,” seeing the two as interchangeable. In this way, Mashaei seems to be arguing that the Revolution and its values are ultimately separable and of far greater importance than the regime per se. When compared with Mohammad Javad Larijani’s statement that to protect the interests of the regime he would be prepared to “negotiate with the US or anyone else even in the depths of hell,” the disparity is highlighted even further.

Mashaei also heaped ample praise on President Ahmadinejad, going as far as to claim that what he has achieved in the course of his presidency is equivalent to the “entirety of contemporary history,” with virtually zero mention of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In his speech, Mashaei also seemed to insinuate that the Islamic Revolution was mere “practice” for the world government to be established by the 12th imam. Mashaei also stated his hopes for a lively contest in the upcoming presidential election, despite having denied recent comments that he would run in the upcoming June 2013 presidential election.

Etemaad believes that Mashaei and the team around Ahmadinejad, as confirmed by Iran Newspaper’s elaboration upon Mashaei’s Kermanshah speech and its presentation in the form of a “manifesto,” are in possession of well-thought out plans for the future and intend to seriously contest the election against their other Principalist rivals, and preserve their gains of the last several years. Mashaei is framed as the official “theoretician” of the Ahmadinejad era and the strategist pre-occupied with ensuring this faction has a political future under the Islamic Republic.

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Image via Etemaad