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Iran Sham Elections – Factions within the regime

NCRI – Internal factional disputes and quarrels are nothing new in the mullahs’ regime. In fact, ‘elections’, and especially ‘presidential elections’, are grounds and a serious political battlefield, and an indicator to see where each faction stands inside the mullahs’ system.

However, these quarrels and factional disputes have never been similar, or to the extent of the current conditions. This year, these disputes are intertwined with the regime’s entirety and destiny, in a manner that it has turned this year’s elections into an unprecedented crisis and a completely berserk and limbo status, which can especially be seen regarding the velayat-e faqih and his place in the regime.

The Regime’s Current Factions:

Khamenei’s faction known as the Hardliners

During the 2009 elections Ali Khamenei’s supporters, known as the hardliners, all voted for Ahmadinejad despite their various trends. However, following the 2009 uprising that lead to the downfall of the velayat-e faqih clout and a serious nosedive in Khamenei’s position inside the regime, quarrels and secessions inside Khamenei’s faction reached a climax.

One major issue in this secession is the face-off between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in April 2011 where Ahmadinejad refused to take part in cabinet sessions for 11 days and stayed home during this period. This was the same Ahmadinejad who Khamenei on 20 June 2009 had introduced as his closest man and practically placed all his political fortune behind him; the same Ahmadinejad who completely owes his position in the regime to Khamenei.

Currently, in the upcoming elections on 14 June 2013, in the most general method Khamenei’s so-called hardliners are actually 4 or 5 major factions, and all are pursuing their own candidates.

1- Traditionalists
2- Former IRGC commanders of the 1980s
3- Change-seeking
4- Persistence Front (Jebhe Paydari)
5- Government supporters

Those known as the reformists inside the mullahs’ regime are actually the torturers of the 1980s. During Khomeini’s rule they were known as the ‘Imam Faction’. Following Khomeini’s death, they introduced themselves as reformists. They mainly consist of the torturers, MOIS personnel, repressive mullahs in the judiciary branch, and the oppressive IRGC forces. Following the 2009 uprising, these individuals were rejected by Khamenei and his system as the seditionists. This is while all of them have always sought to maintain the system and velayat-e faqih rule (even those who are now in prison). The difference between the reformists and traditionalists is they argue that through “our” methods the velayat-e faqih and system will endure longer.

Currently, regarding the 2013 elections, the reformists are introduced as two moderate and extremist factions.

1- Moderates
2- Extremist

The hardliners believe Rafsanjani, with his positions to this date and especially those he took following the 2009 uprising, is considered amongst the reformists’ ranks.

Rafsanjani, who was in one level with Khamenei during Khomeini’s rule, following Khomeini’s death continues to consider himself at the same level as Khamenei. Therefore, he never enters any official faction and introduces himself as above all factional divides. In the current conditions, Rafsanjani believes the method to overcome the crisis lies in the formation of a national coalition government, and says an individual who can form such a cabinet consisting of members from different factions must become the president.