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Rifts in Iran’s Leadership. Plus: Secret Meetings with Obama Admin?

Recent events in Iran have exposed serious rifts between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Plus, reports claim the U.S. is, inexplicably, still trying to talk the Iranians back from the nuclear brink.

by
'Reza Kahlili'

Bio

April 29, 2011 - 12:00 am

News of an open confrontation between Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come to light, revealing infighting over the dismissal of the minister of Intelligence by Ahmadinejad. Khamenei opposed the firing.

According to reports, last month Heydar Moslehi — the former minister of Intelligence — presented an extensive report on Ahmadinejad’s political and economic activities to Khamenei. In addition, the report is said to have contained information on a number of serious violations.

In late January/early February, a group calling itself “a trade association” — all of its members belong to security forces close to Ahmadinejad — traveled to Dubai. The group’s announced intentions were to cozy up to a trade association of Iranians in Dubai, and to reveal a plan to open a special office for their economic activities. However, reports claim that they also held clandestine meetings with two American officials with political and military connections.

The report the minister of Intelligence provided — which cautioned of an especially dangerous outcome to these undertakings — is said to have disturbed Khamenei.

Other reports from inside Iran point to the Obama administration’s continuation of privately approaching the Iranian officials, hoping to get them to return to negotiations on the nuclear issues. Clearly, sanctions have not achieved the goal of stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. This may explain why President Obama kept silent when Green leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi were arrested in February, leading to mass protests across Iran on February 14, February 20, and March 1. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians protested.

While the Iranians ignore the Americans, they are strengthening ties with China in secret oil deals.

The Ministry of Industries delivered a classified report to the Iranian parliament and an official memo to the Ministry of Intelligence, both of which stated their inability to explain or justify oil contracts with China and Malaysia. They admitted they had no information on any of the details of the contracts, and declared they had no involvement with these deals.

Then, during the last week of February, a classified report from the Ministry of Petroleum tipped off the Energy Commission within the Iranian parliament: a substantial amount of fuel had been exported by the Revolutionary Guards to the Chinese via underwater pipelines in the Persian Gulf (Kish Island). The Ministry of Petroleum acknowledged a $3 billion oil sale discrepancy, which could not be accounted for.

This meant that the oil contracts with China — a portion of which (approximately $58 billion) were without legal license and lacking details — were not reported to the Iranian parliament. The recipient of the proceeds is unknown, and at least $14.2 billion of the income from the contracts has not been paid to the country.

Also, in recent months, more than 17 construction contracts worth more than $14 billion have been secretly subcontracted to the Chinese by the Revolutionary Guards’ Khatamol Anbia base.

Additionally in the report by the Ministry of Intelligence: in recent months, 42 members of the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia have been transferred to “the special offices of the president” where they are each paid between five to eleven million tomans (approximately $5000 to $11,000) per month, while still holding onto their official jobs and benefits.

It seems that despite current sanctions, China and Iran are expanding ties and even have resorted to secret deals where China is making billions of dollars in profit by supporting the Islamic regime. It also appears that Ahmadinejad and his allies in the Guards are consolidating power — but not to challenge Khamenei, as ideologically they are all on the same page. The consolidation is to confront other factions close to Khamenei — primarily his son, Mojtaba, who has shown a penchant for power and oil dollars.

American officials misinterpret the signals if they think there will be any change or possible cooperation from the Iranian leaders from these secret talks. For over 30 years, the Iranians have obfuscated, misled, deluded, and refused to cooperate in any way. Over and over, these same leaders have called for the demise of America and the destruction of Israel.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).
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