Omid Memarian

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Reading Khamenei: The World View of Iran's Most

Karim Sadjadpour, Iran's analyist at Carnegie Endowment has published a new booklet on the thoughts of Iran's Supreme Leader. Just two weeks ago I met Karim in his office in DC and talked about his thoughts on the importance of paying attention to the most important figure in Iran's politics. For many people, still, Iran's president seems the most influential and significant person, but everybody who is a bit familiar with Iran's political system knows that no major change happens in Iran without his involvement. Karim's narrative of who is ruling Iran gives a solid analysis of Iran's domestic politics. Something that should be considered any analysis about Iran:

There is perhaps no leader in the world more important to current world affairs but less known and understood than Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. In a unique and timely new study Carnegie’s Karim Sadjadpour presents an in-depth political profile of Khamenei based on a careful reading of three decades' worth of his writings and speeches.

"Sadjadpour argues that “Iran’s Islamic government is more powerful than it has ever been vis-à-vis the United States, Khamenei is more powerful than he’s ever been within Iran, and in order to devise a more effective U.S. policy toward Iran a better understanding of Khamenei is essential.” Though Khamenei is sometimes dismissed as weak and indecisive, Sadjadpour writes, “his rhetoric depicts a resolute leader with a remarkably consistent and coherent—though highly cynical and conspiratorial—world view.”

Given that the real political power of the Iranian Supreme Leader dwarfs that of the president, Sadjadpour argues, “It’s time for the world to focus less on Ahmadinejad and more on Khamenei. His speeches present arguably the most accurate reflection of Iranian domestic and foreign policy aims and actions over the last two decades.” He explores how Khamenei’s unexpected ascent to power is instructive in understanding his style of leadership, and unearths insightful quotes that provide deep insight into Khamenei’s thoughts on issues such as the United States, Israel, Iraq, President Ahmadinejad, and the nuclear issue." (read the PDF version of this report)


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