Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-Larijani

Larijani: “We are in the state of war to preserve the independence of the Judiciary”

Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-LarijaniSource: ISNADate: 28 October 2011

In a meeting with Judiciary officials in Zanjan province, Iran’s Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani attacked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration over a series of financial corruption cases which have become known as the Big Graft. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad’s controversial chief-of-staff and closest confidant, has been linked to some of the key figures implicated in the scandal.

Referring to obstruction by the Ahmadinejad administration in investigating the case, Larijani declared that “we are in a state of war”:

“This means that they create so many obstacles that we must go to war to preserve the independence and authority of the Judiciary. We will see this through, and to this end will take on any official that we have to.”

Responding to allegations of inaction in the scandal, Larijani drew a line in the sand with the Ahmadinejad administration in a sharply worded retort:

“In the discussion over confronting economic corruption, a suspect source has said that the Judiciary has not cooperated with the [government] machinery, and I have recently heard that some have claimed that the executive and legislature are doing their duty but that the Judiciary is doing nothing…I would like to state that impudence has its limits.”

In reference to Ahmadinejad’s recent statement that his Cabinet constituted a “red line” which his opponents should not cross, Larijani and Mashaei along with other figures in the Cabinet could become targets of the Judiciary’s investigation:

“In this regard some create obstacles, but we say that the red lines which are declared are delusional. Where in Islam do we have red lines…Regardless, the Judiciary will confront these subversives and we shall not allow them to stand in the way of the application of the law and the resolution of [these] cases through [their] subversion and commotion.”

Editor’s note: While not mentioning the Ahmadinejad administration and its leading figures by name, the subtext of Larijani’s speech appears to have directly targeted them. In recent months, Ahmadinejad and Mashaei have come under attack by Traditional Principalists, the Majlis (legislature) and most recently the Judiciary. Mashaei represents one of the main groups to emerge from the Ahmadinejad administration since 2005, known as the Iranian School of Islam.

This latest attack by the Judiciary on the Ahmadinejad administration comes at a time when competing groups within the Principalist faction are gearing up for the crucial 2012 Majlis election which could create a new balance in Iran’s factional politics. Allegations of financial corruption and graft against Mashaei and the Iranian School is intended to weaken them in the run-up to the election and permanently damage the legacy the Ahmadinejad administration has tried to create for itself as the “purest government in Iranian history”.

The weakness of the Iranian School, Reformists, Pragmatists (supporters of ex-President Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani) and Traditional Principalists may create a vacuum before the 2012 election. This vacuum could be filled by the 3rd of Tir current, the second group to emerge from the Ahmadinejad administration since 2005, who will be represented by the Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution in the election.