Iran Special: Decoding Ahmadinejad --- Did He Just Declare the "Final Confrontation" Within the Establishment?
Over the last 48 hours, reports have emerged of an extraordinary speech by President Ahmadinejad to a group of his backers, the Supporters of Islamic Revolution Dialogue, in Tehran.
Our initial reaction was "Did he really say that?" And that as the reports built in their detail, we began to consider, "If he did say that, what does it mean for the conflict inside the Iranian system?"
For --- if the reports are true --- the President's speech was no less than a proclamation of all-out political conflict with his rivals, including a possible showdown with some in the camp of the Supreme Leader. That would explain why "mainstream" Iranian outlets only published parts of the statement, leaving out the most provocative challenges.
We are still cautious. Did the pro-Ahmadinejad website, <em>Dolat-e Ma</em>, which has published the transcript of the speech, get it right through its reporter on the scene? Is there exaggeration for effect, perhaps to scare Ahmadinejad's opponents?
Then again, no one from the President's office or amongst his media backers has denied the remarks. So we assess the significance of Ahmadinejad's declaration of a "final confrontation"...