Patterico's Pontifications


Keep An Eye on Iran Today… (Update: An Ultimatum?)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:50 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Haaretz adds this to the the story, clarifying it considerably:

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an ultimatum over the reinstatement of the country’s intelligence chief, a local website reported Friday.

Khamenei, who, according to the constitution, has the final say on all state affairs, vetoed Ahmadinejad’s decision last month to dismiss Heydar Moslehi.

The website Ayandeh quoted presidential advisor, Morteza Aqa-Tehrani, saying that in a meeting this week between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, the ayatollah has pushed the president to either accept Moslehi or resign.

Ahmadinejad has not yet responded with a final decision on the supreme leader’s ultimatum, Agha-Tehrani added.

The Ayandeh report is yet to be confirmed by official or local media.

And while that makes some sense, there is that confirmation problem noted.  Anyway, read the whole thing.


Things are starting to get strange in Iran right now.   President Mahmoud Amadanutjob Ahmadinejad had asked the country’s intelligence minister to resign, but Ayatollah Khamenei had overruled him.  That led to an 11 day walkout by Amadinnerjacket Ahmadinejad.  And now, as often tryants do, Khamenei is apparently asserting control by silly claims of the supernatural.*

Close allies of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

Incidentally, a djinn, or a jinn, is better known in the West as a genie.  Yeah, as in like this:

(It's called Rule 5, folks.)

But in the West we have badly distorted the myth.  A jinn is pretty accurately described as a spirit, capable of various kinds of magic and even possession of a human.  That trapped-in-a-bottle and granting-three-wishes stuff only applied to one genie in one story, but we have run with it so to hear us talk, that’s how all genies are.

And this is officially part of Islam, much as angels are officially part of Christianity only angels are generally good, and jinn can be good, bad, or indifferent, as I understand it.  It’s hard to say how much anyone believes in the existence and actions of jinn, but now and then people do act on that belief.

Anyway, meanwhile we also are seeing this, well…  this:

A few minutes ago on May 5, 2011, Arab TV announced that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini requested Iran’s President Ahmadinejad to step down from his post. This has not been confirmed nor verified by Western media as yet, however, it has been reported that several of his close aides are already under arrest.

That seems pretty unverified, but still just the arrest of people who are supposedly keeping him in power by the use of magic suggests that it is possible that we are reaching the end of the road for Ahmadinejad.  And if there is strife in Iran, would that be an opening for a popular revolution to kick down all of the tyrants?

Beats me, truthfully, but I will be watching.


* Mind you, I am not expressing sympathy for Mahmoud.  A fight between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei is just a fight between tyrants giving rise to the clichéd lament that you wish somehow both could lose.  And if the people rise up, that could happen.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

39 Responses to “Keep An Eye on Iran Today… (Update: An Ultimatum?)”

  1. Thank you for the tip. Believe I’ll cancel the show in Tehran I had set, the end of May.

    David Copperfield

    JP (c4988c)

  2. Well, they were lucky they weren’t
    charged with blasphemy, or insulting
    the Prophet.

    Jack (f9fe53)

  3. A struggle with a popular uprising is unlikely. More likely is a civil war between elements of the Revolutionary Guard and the military between supporters of Khameni and dinnerjacket.

    That’s a scenario that has been discussed for several years now.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. Next up on Iranian TV?

    Ahmadinejad standing in front of camera saying “I’m you…”

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  5. You know, I confess that I always felt some kind of supernatural spirit rising in me whenever I saw Barbara Eden…

    Or maybe I’m mistaking hormones with metaphysics…

    Bob Reed (5f2db5)

  6. Better Rule 5-ery needed.

    Eden’s not showing enough cleavage, and Hagman’s in the pic.

    Darth Venomous (c8614a)

  7. Barbara Eden
    OJ Simpson drooled over
    that beautiful blond

    ColonelHaiku (bd4132)

  8. DV…Those pub-pix were intended for super-market tabs of the day, not covers of Penthouse; but, Yeah, more “Genie” and less Hagman would be a plus.

    AD-RtR/OS! (afe2c0)

  9. Your link is broken in the “Anyway, meanwhile we also are seeing this, well… this:” line. You’ll need to edit it and delete all the extra text before the http: to make it work.

    Robin Munn (3c930d)

  10. But, seriously, there seems to be some benchwork being built here for a serious struggle for supremecy within the power structure in Tehran, and the opportunity to chuck the mass of them.
    It would seem to revolve around how willing those who took to the streets in ’09(?) are willing to do so again, and to take the casualties that a serious urban revolt would entail against a desperate regime (see: Daraa). Plus, it would require the regime to pull back into Iran many of the “advisors” they have farmed out into Iraq/Syria/who knows where.
    A CIA that was more interested in cementing the US’s position in shaky areas of the world, rather than the internecine battles along Pennsylvania Avenue, would be stirring this pot vigorously – just where is Valerie and Joe these days?

    AD-RtR/OS! (afe2c0)

  11. Will President Snow Job take credit for the fall of the Small Man In Iran too?

    Bear1909 (28e54e)

  12. DV…Those pub-pix were intended for super-market tabs of the day, not covers of Penthouse

    Well, yeah. And this was the 60s, after all – that she was showing any cleavage at all was something in itself.

    Just sayin’. (g)

    Comment by Davis — 5/6/2011 @ 8:09 am

    This just in: Osama bin Laden is still dead!!!!.

    (Generalissimo Francisco Franco: “Can I get some peace now??? (grin))

    Darth Venomous (c8614a)

  13. Your description of a ginn, or genie, is more like the supernatural description of a demon, or fallen angels, not Biblical angels. Also known in atheist/agnostic/secular circles as a paranormal being, poltergeist, or a ghost.

    Whatever the accusation, the fascist Ahmadinejad needs to go. But who will he be replaced with? After all, he “won” that election……. /sarc.

    DINORightMarie (a8fe75)

  14. I think djinns are more like demons in Christianity than angels. Although in Christianity, angels and demons are the same type of thing, but one is good and the other is bad. I get the impression that djinns are amoral rather than immoral.

    Jim S. (874b7a)

  15. For a rather interesting literary mashup of historical and espionage fiction with a supernatural bent (involving Djinns, hence the comment applicability here), read “Declare!” by Tim Powers.

    Basically…what if double-agent Kim Philby (and in fact much of the cold war espionage of the 50’s and 60’s) were supernaturally motivated by the desire to gain – or defeat – the patronage of paranormal protectors of certain regimes.

    Tim Powers’ earlier and also excellent work “Stranger Tides”, a pirate yarn involving the search for the fountain of youth, was the ‘basis’ for the next Pirates of the Carribean movie…although I’m sure they completely and totally butchered it to fit it into the “Jack Sparrow” storyline, after buying the rights….

    rtrski (192cf0)

  16. So, you take Ahmadinejad and Khamenei up to 30,000 feet in a plane, and throw them both out. Who hits the ground first?

    Who cares?

    C. S. P. Schofield (8b1968)

  17. If these people had real magic how were they arrested at all?

    eaglewingz08 (74f660)

  18. If the Ayatollah has God’s backing, how could this happen?

    Makes you go “hmmmmmmm.”

    OK… it really makes you go “duuuuh,” but hopefully the rest of Iran figured this out.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  19. Separated at birth?

    Dustin (c16eca)

  20. When I think of “djinns”, I see Burl Ives – and it isn’t a pleasant thought.

    AD-RtR/OS! (b8ab92)

  21. Don’t tell me you can’t see the resemblance.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  22. Nor Luap is the American Imadamnutjob.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  23. The problem Nor has is that he’s not really a Republican at all, except in the most strict sense.

    That seems OK for me as a congressman, but why would his supporters think he represents the national party? They might as well suggest we nominate Ralph Nader or Hillary Clinton.

    Anyway, can someone defend Cain from that Anti Islam religious test? I know everyone is giving him the win for last night, and I think he’s often well spoken, but it’s hard to see how he can beat Obama with that kind of gaffe. Am I wrong? I don’t want to bash the guy, but I do want the response bashing him would instigate.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  24. I don’t think we need to win the hearts or (apparently tiny) minds of these people.

    Anonyma (39e6ac)

  25. Ron Paul is a jackalope.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  26. Thanks for the explanation of djinns, Aaron. Now what can you tell us about Magic Carpets?

    JVW (fb14f8)

  27. “Now what can you tell us about Magic Carpets?”

    JVW – They are cheaper than taxis, avoid traffic jams and you aren’t forced to listen to NPR by a driver trying to learn English.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  28. Djinni are not quite like angels, but they can be like angels good, bad, or morally neutral (Christian legend talks about the latter, not in laudatory terms). Unlike angels, for example, they are mortal–although their lifespans compared to humans are immense. Jewish tradition has a similar tradition of beings called shadim, over whom King Solomon in legend had complete control. Their king was called Ashmodai (which became Asmodeus in Christian tradition) and their queen was Lilith. Lilith was very much an evil entity–she was supposed to kill babies, for instance–Ashmodai not so bad, but more inclined to evil. The shadim in general had a bad reputation, and were commonly blamed for diseases, accidents, etc. (which has led some modern Jewish writers to claim that in talking about demons the rabbis were really referring to germs. They were not, however, fallen angels and therefore not devils in the classic Christian sense of the term. Their bodies were formed from fire in the same way that human bodies are formed from earth, and they were mortal albeit with very long lifespans.

    As for Tim Powers–I have a hard time getting into his later novels such as Declare, but I highly recommend his earlier novels; The Anubis Gates and The Stress of Her Regard should be the bookshelf of every self respecting nerd. (Actually, they are among the best fantasy novels I have ever read, with intricate plots which, for instance, mingle the English Romantic poets with vampires and Hapsburgs (the Stress of her Regard), and Egyptian magic with English history and a bit of Coleridge (the Anubis Gates.)

    Oh, this thread is about Iran?–well, actually I have nothing to say in that regard 🙂

    kishnevi (d785be)

  29. Why not call it magical anal levitation.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  30. So, you take Ahmadinejad and Khamenei up to 30,000 feet in a plane, and throw them both out. Who hits the ground first?

    Trick question… the answer is neither… cuz the GrandMasterFlying10thMahdi swoops in, clutches them both to his 72 breastesses and takes them to their just rewards in the Ninth Circle of Hell.

    ColonelHaiku (347142)

  31. Yes, Declare, is a bit of a slog, but it’s a very interesting one, the idea of crossing Lovecraft with Le Carre, tying the Empty Quarter and the meteorites found there in, and the strange twists
    and turns they take. A truly epic tale, that could
    never be justly treated as a film.

    narciso (79ddc3)

  32. But if ahmadenjab gets deposed, who will lead Turkey and Egypt and create a middle east calyphate while droping nuclear tipped rockets on Tel Avive? Well maybe it will be Russia, marching to Israel with a million man army. You have to know your eschatology.

    steven moore (30f3c3)

  33. Kishnevi: Strange, I find the Last Call -> Earthquake Weather trilogy his absolute best work in terms of overall complexity and cohesion…although nothing really does beat the hallucinatory quality of Anubis Gates and Stress of Her Regard. His latest (unless I’ve missed one)Three Days to Never, did leave me a tad flat, much more so than Declare! which I thought really stood out well on its own and was more of a return to the whole Stress/AG nepthelim/djinn themes, vs. the Last Call/EW which seemed more like a followup to the much earlier Drawing of the Dark.

    Been thinking about giving Blaylock a try again too recently. I got a bit jaded by all the Ashbless in-joke stuff, but I’m running out of new stuff to read.

    Sorry to go off on the long Tim Powers tangents…funny you say they should be on any self-respecting geek’s shelves, yet I rarely find others who’ve even heard of him, and I travel almost exclusively in geek circles… 😉

    Iran? Yeah, like anything that’s gone on there in the last 20 yrs has made sense…blaming it on djinns or magic is just icing on the cake.

    rtrski (7d710a)

  34. Along the lines of the Tim Powers, author tangent. I recommend Frank Peretti.

    steven moore (30f3c3)

  35. Where is Eric to whine about islamophobia?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  36. Where is Eric to whine about islamophobia?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

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