IRAN UPDATE….Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi of the LA Times report on the latest travails of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Iran watchers sought to make sense Monday of a spat between the conservative speaker of parliament and the country’s hard-line president over a budgetary issue that found supreme leader Ali Khamenei issuing a rare but opaque opinion.
….The president had refused to implement a plan to divert $1 billion to buy more natural gas to remedy heating-supply shortages. “The implementation of all bills that follow constitutional channels is mandatory for all branches of the state,” the statement read.
….Some saw Khamenei’s intervention as a rare public rebuke against Ahmadinejad, who has largely tried to disregard the parliament since he took office in 2005, sometimes implementing rules and dissolving agencies without seeking lawmakers’ approval.
Others read the supreme leader’s statement as simply an attempt to restore some semblance of balance between a weakened parliament increasingly worried by the government’s lack of progress on the economy and a president who tries to rule by fiat, at least on the economy.
Obviously I don’t have any special insight into what’s really going on here, but I like to highlight the occasional articles in the Western press about Iranian politics. If this kind of thing had happened in the U.S., you’d read and hear a million words from every pundit and cable talker in the country about what it meant and who benefited, but when it comes to Iran we mostly just get stories along the lines of “nuclear bad, Ahmadinejad bad, tensions rising.” It’s worthwhile to occasionally be reminded that there’s as much going on behind the scenes in Iran as there is in any other country.