Khamenei has to play to both sides

On Monday, Meir Javedanfar wrote: The Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei probably got little sleep last night.

As the man with the final word on Iran’s nuclear program, his decision and blessing would have been needed by Iran’s nuclear negotiation team for every major decision taken during last night’s negotiations with the P5+1.

The agreement was finally signed at 3 A.M. in Geneva — which is 5:30 A.M. in Tehran. This is probably when Iran’s most powerful man could finally get some rest.

The agreement with the West is unlikely to go down well with Iran’s ultra conservatives. For years Ayatollah Khamenei, backed by his conservative supporters, advocated a policy of “resistance” over Iran’s nuclear program. This policy entailed continuing the program without conceding during nuclear negotiations. This was witnessed during the negotiation sessions between the P5+1 and Khamenei’s former top negotiator (and preferred presidential candidate) Saeed Jalili. In line with instructions from his boss the supreme leader, Jalili did not show any compromise. Instead, he emphasized Iran’s rights and how Iran had been wronged in its dealings with the West.

The pressure of sanctions meant that the supreme leader had to go against his former policy of “resistance” and adopt a new policy which was evident in the nuclear negotiations. Khamenei called his new policy “heroic flexibility.” We saw its implementation last night in Geneva. [Continue reading…]

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