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The Latest from Iran (3 February): The Supreme Leader's Friday Prayer
1746 GMT: Threat of the Day. According to Aftab, President Ahmadinejad has said at a private meeting with politicians, "I have two 45-minute tapes on my desk from a political meeting on 8 Bahman 1388 (28 January 2010) that prove sedition against the Government and [Ahmadinejad's Chief of Staff Esfandiar] Rahim-Mashai."
What could be on those tapes? Well, here is what EA reported, in an exclusive story, on 23 January:
Sometime after the demonstrations of Ashura (27 December), three well-placed Iranian politicians met to discuss current events. The protests, with their scenes of violence and, in some cases, the retreat of Iranian security forces before the opposition, had been unsettling, raising fears not only that the challenge would persist but that the authority of the Government might collapse.
The three men were 1) Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament; 2) Mohsen Rezaei, former head of the Revolutionary Guard, former Presidential candidate, and Secretary of the Expediency Council; and 3) Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, Mayor of Tehran.
The meeting reached agreement on a general two-step strategy. First, the crisis with the opposition would be "solved", either through a resolution with its leaders or by finally suppressing it out of existence. Then, there would be a political campaign to get rid of the unsettling influence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Each of the three men brought not ideas but key groups to the table. Larijani, of course, commanded a good deal of backing in Parliament and was close to the Supreme Leader. Rezaei not only had the background in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps but also, in the Expediency Council, worked with Hashemi Rafsanjani. Qalibaf, although mostly quiet during the post-election crisis, had the base of support from his solid reputation overseeing Tehran.
(It is likely, according to sources, that Rafsanjani knows of the plan, especially given the connection with Rezaei. It is unclear whether the Supreme Leader knows its details.)