here. Which sounds good as stated, but whether this portends a move toward democracy or dictatorship is debatable:
The newcomers are former military commanders, filmmakers and mayors, many younger than 50 and only a few of them clerics. They are vowing to carry out the promises of the revolution and to place Iran among the world’s leading nations. This rising generation has the support of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader in Iran’s political system, who backs the government’s assertive foreign and nuclear policies.
Last month, local election councils disqualified scores of clerics and their allies – including Khomeini’s grandson, Ali Eshragi – from seeking election to parliament March 14. Such candidates have been disqualified before, but analysts said the absence of members of the clerical old guard from other institutions of power in Iran means they will find it difficult to mount an electoral comeback.
“These newcomers are pushing the followers of the imam out of power,” said cleric and political veteran Rasoul Montajabnia, using an honorific to refer to Khomeini. “We are being dealt with disloyally.”
Analysts say the purging of those clerics strengthens President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most prominent leader of the new generation, and will result in a smaller political class that is more beholden to the supreme leader and less tolerant of even internal dissent.
“The newcomers don’t have the same power base as the old guard,” said Mehrdad Serjooie, a political analyst and former journalist. "They have no reputation dating from the time of the revolution, no direct access to oil money and no important supporters.
“The old factions often could operate more independently because they were powerful” in their own right, Serjooie added. “The new generation depends more on the leader.”
What’s in Iran’s political future?
It’s tough to say. I doubt personally that the average Iranian wants to get rid of Islamic rule - but I don’t think either that they see that as necessitating permanent alienation from the West and the United States.
Plus, economic and demographic pressures (the fact that the population is very young and only 50% ethnically Persian) make this a real pressure cooker - and don’t think the imams don’t know this.
But what are they supposed to do about it?
Dig in. They’ll take ultra-conservative positions for as long as they can.