World View: Iran's Supreme Leader Tries to Defeat the Younger Generation
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Iran's Supreme Leader tries to defeat the younger generation
- Charges of sorcery
- An ideological and generational assault
Iran's Supreme Leader tries to defeat the younger generation
Iran's eight approved candidates (BBC)
In a stunning generational assault, Iran's Guardians Council has
followed the wishes of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and
has disqualified all presidential candidates who do not follow
Khamenei's hardline ideology. With a new presidential election coming
next month, the council disqualified two major candidates who are
considered "centrist" or "reformist."
The most colorful rejection was of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, the top
aide and close friend of current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Ahmadinejad and Khamenei have had bitter power struggles for the last
four years, related to a widening theological dispute. (See "7-May-11 News -- Resignation of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be imminent".)
Charges of sorcery
In 2009 Khamenei accused Mashaei and other Ahmadinejad aides
of being sorcerers, of using "supernatural powers," and of
being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits).
The charges of sorcery are related to the devout belief, held by
Ahmadinejad and Mashaei, in the Mahdaviat -- the Shia Muslim belief
that the Mahdi (or "the 12'th Imam" or "the Hidden Imam") is coming to
save mankind. This belief is roughly equivalent to the Christian
belief in the second coming of Christ, or the Buddhist belief in the
Maitreya -- that a new Buddha is to appear on earth, and will achieve
complete enlightenment. Ahmadinejad disobeyed Supreme Leader Khamenei
in several matters, which is considered to be equivalent to disobeying
God. But Ahmadinejad was just paving the way for the return of the
Hidden Imam, and was using his claim that the Hidden Imam's return is
imminent as a justification for disobeying Khamenei. Thus, the
charges of sorcery.
But the disqualification of Mashaei as a presidential candidate
may have occurred for far more prosaic reasons. Mashaei is
very outspoken on issues of individual rights and personal
freedoms, particularly for women. These are all views that
are firmly rejected by the hardline Khamenei.
Similarly disqualified was former president Ali Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, who intensely dislikes Ahmadinejad and Mashaei, but who
has also criticized the Khamenei supporter for suppressing free
speech, and crushing the protests in 2009, and has advocated better
relations with the West.
Iran is in a generational Awakening era, like America in the 1960s.
America in the 1960s was a political battle between the older
generation, the hardline survivors of World War II, versus the
younger "free thinking" generation that grew up after WW II.
Iran today is in a political battle between the older generation,
the hardline survivors of the Great Islamic Revolution of
1979 and the following Iran/Iraq war, versus the younger
free thinking generation that grew up since the 1980s.
An ideological and generational assault
So Khamenei's move to disqualify the centrist and reformist candidates
is both an ideological assault and a generational assault. It's a
desperate move, as Khamenei sees his hardline ideology being eaten
away by younger generations who think it's perfectly OK for a woman to
walk down the street without a head scarf. Sooner or later there'll
be an "Awakening era crisis" which, like President Richard Nixon's
resignation in 1974, will settle the generational battle one way or
another. In the meantime, disqualifying all the reforming and
centrist candidates is pretty certain to infuriate the younger
generations. BBC and
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