Iran plays cat and mouse

His apparent re-election as President is still being vehemently disputed by a large proportion of Iranian society – but at least Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can take comfort today.

He has won a vote of confidence after the parliament backed 18 of his choices for ministers, one of them a woman.

His choices of candidates reflects the fact he wants to keep the hardliners and more moderates happy.

Because in the corridors of power in Teheran there are elements who can still cause him a lot of trouble.

Professor Sirouzeh Nahavamdi Free University off Brussels: “You can’t say there hasn’t been consequences.

“There are strong men around, loyal but at the same time, men who keep one eye on the international scene.

“ He tried to introduce three women of which only one was accepted by the parliament. Perhaps he is making some kind of experiment.”

On a different level is Ahmadinejad’s relationship with Supreme Leader Ali Khameini.

Some would argue Khameini has distanced himself from Ahmadinejad after the disputed Presidential election.

Other observers believe if there is a rift it won’t last long.

At the end of July Ahmadienjad provoked fury among fellow conservatives by promoting one of his vice presidents who allegedly said Iran was friends with the Israeli people.

Finally after days of rumbling anger Khameni called for the appointee to go.

Apparent splits in the regime inevitably impact on Iran’s foreign policy and its quest for nuclear power.

Teheran has made it clear it wants negotiations – but now the international community has to weigh up exactly who in terms of the regime it is negotiating with.

In other words who is calling the shots.

Professor Sirouzeh added: “ In respect of the nuclear question, the Iranians always follow a pattern of blowing hot and cold. They say one thing and do another. This way they keep West guessing. They always negotiate this way.”

On the quest for nuclear power it’s been that way for over a decade.

No-one is quite sure how far the Iranians are down the nuclear path and playing cat and mouse with the west is a game in which the Iranians excel.


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