Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 22, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

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.

Kevin Drum 11:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Comments

Are you talking about Iran or the U.S. because there doesn't sound like much diffrence between Bush and Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: john john on January 22, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's a sad reality that we as a people need to be reminded that Iran is a complex and diverse country, not a monolithic bloc of evil.

Posted by: uri on January 22, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

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.

Kevin, I don't understand what you're complaining about here. We have a very clear cut case of Ahmadinejad breaking the law here. Parliament passed a law, and now Ahmadinejad's trying to overrule it by fiat. An authoritative ruling was issued stating Ahmadinejad doesn't have such dictatorial powers.
The President can't simply disregard a law just because he doesn't like it. Legislative power is vested in the parliament, and it is the job of the President, the executive branch, to execute the law whether he likes it or not. Your attempt at moral equivalence fails. Pretty simple when you think about it.

Posted by: Al on January 22, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

When you think about it, it's pretty impressive that Iran has managed to create the kind of government they have in which a constitution apparently functions and a parliament actually has power instead of being a rubber stamp, especially when you consider the kind of past that Iran has, with almost no experience of rule of law, at least before 1906, instead having the absolute rule of shahs, and the fact that the kind of revolution that Iran went through in 1979 usually has produced a one-party dictatorship. It's quite remarkable, but the assholes in Washington don't care, all they see is "Ahmedinajad=dictatorship=bad."

Posted by: Librarian on January 22, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

But...but...but...Mad Mullahs! Mad Mullahs!

[/neocon stooge]

Posted by: Gregory on January 22, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Are you talking about Iran or the U.S. because there doesn't sound like much diffrence between Bush and Ahmadinejad. -john john

Indeed. Another clip from the LAT article:

"It shows that among the hard-liners the gap is widening," said Saeed Allah-Bedashti, a politician close to the camp of liberal-minded former President Mohammad Khatami.

Sounds just like the fracturing of the GOP!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 22, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ahmadinijad needs a hug.

[/liberal patsy]

Posted by: SJRSM on January 22, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"The President can't simply disregard a law just because he doesn't like it..."

You mean the way George Bush does? As they saying goes "Monkey see, monkey do".

Posted by: Osiris on January 22, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect the natural gas heating crisis during the coldest weather in many years might be having an effect in Iran similar to Katrina.

Yes there are a lot or erie similarities between Iran and the US. Both governments thrive by having the other as an implacably evil enemy. Both have a problem with the president exceeding his proper limits. I suspect our checks and balances are better -at least they don't depend upon the edicts of mullahs.

Posted by: bigTom on January 22, 2008 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The President can't simply disregard a law just because he doesn't like it.

Except in the US, as Al often readily admits


.

Posted by: spork_incident on January 22, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ahmadinijad needs a hug.

Shorter Red State Mike: I have nothing but straw men.

Posted by: Gregory on January 22, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK


Isn't it about time for Bush to call a press conference and declare Ahmadinejad the scum of the earth? At which point, the Iranian population will decide that if somebody like Bush hates him he can't be all bad and swing behind him.

Posted by: john sherman on January 22, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

"The implementation of all bills that follow constitutional channels is mandatory for all branches of the state." What an odd idea. Next thing, Iran's supreme leader will be demanding that ratified treaties be considered the law of the land instead of quaint relics. And if right-minded people don't do what's necessary it could happen here, beginning Jan, 2009.

Posted by: zeno2vonnegut on January 22, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine a country so undemocratic that the president can arbitrarily establish rules to bypass the legislature!

Posted by: William deB. Mills on January 22, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

What I find interesting is that the gas shortage in Iran has been in the news for months -- overseas. Here it isn't mentioned.

Posted by: mcdruid on January 23, 2008 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

"...sometimes implementing rules and dissolving agencies without seeking lawmakers' approval."

Whew, for a moment there I thought this article was about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney instead of about Ahmadinejad, the Iranian "Decider." Does Ahmadinejad do signing statements, too?

Posted by: The Oracle on January 23, 2008 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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