Various commentators, especially in Europe and the United States, have been quick in interpreting Larijani’s resignation as a “bad omen” reflecting a triumph for hardliners led by Ahmadinejad. But that is simplistic and ignores a more complex reality in the Iran’s state affairs. The quest for greater centralization of nuclear decision-making has met a contradictory response in, on the one hand, the move for more direct input by Khamenei, and, on the other hand, a parallel effort by Ahmadinejad to gain greater control of decision-making.
Regarding the former, in the aftermath of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent Tehran visit, where he submitted a nuclear proposal not to his equal, Ahmadinejad, but rather to Khamenei  , thus belittling Iran’s president, Khamenei has reportedly held a meeting with all top officials of the regime and informed them for the first time that an American military attack on Iran is “a possibility” that “should be taken seriously”.
Khamenei has reportedly promised Putin to “study and consider” his proposal. Confusingly, though, while Larijani has announced that Putin did pass on a proposal for resolving the nuclear standoff, Ahmadinejad has insisted that Putin did not present any such proposal and limited himself to the expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations. [complete article]