According to reports, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, might have indicated in a statement that the position of president may be eliminated at some point in his country.
If the report proves to be true, the mention of eliminating Iran’s highest elected office indicates that an extreme power struggle is ongoing between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad.
Iran’s political system operates off of a cleric-ruled system in the framework of theocracy guided by Shi’a Islam. In the complex system, the supreme leader holds near-absolute power but that power has been increasingly challenged by the incumbent President Ahmadinejad.
The country has an elected president, parliament, and an Assembly of Experts that determine who will be the supreme leader of the country. Iran developed this political system following its 1979 revolution and since then there has only been two men to hold the post of supreme leader.
The comments from the supreme leader come following months of ongoing political clashes between Iran's leadership due to Ahmadinejad's actions that have been posing a threat to the absolute power of Khamenei.
It appears as though Khamenei is attempting to put a lid on Ahmadinejad's political power as in recent months, the president’s closest allies and confidants have been increasingly facing allegations and arrest, while the president has faced open threats of impeachment.
The arrests and interrogations of Ahmandinjad’s close circle of friends and allies was announced by a Friday-prayer leader close to the supreme leader as direct orders from Khamenei, indicating the leader of Iran is attempting to push Ahmandinejad into the political margins.
The new comment questioning the political future of Iran comes from Khamenei days before it is predicted that he will reach a decision on the case of the Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani.
However, the ayatollah is not obligated to reveal his decision to the public, lawyers, or the defendant’s family. Therefore, any future action by the courts may be the only indication that Khamenei has made his decision.
The supreme leader is facing heavy amounts of international pressure in the case of Nadarkhani from both people that are pushing for freedom of religion in the county, and others that are pushing that Nadarkhani be used as an example to Iranian society for not worshiping Islam.
International pressure has managed to push the Iranian court to confirm that Nadarkhani is currently alive awaiting his verdict, but it remains uncertain if international pressure will be able to save the pastor’s life.