Wednesday , 12 June 2024

Ahmadinejad’s Subtle Attempts at Influence Amid Political Silence

Iranwire – Although the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has maintained a relatively low profile in recent years, he occasionally makes efforts to reassert his presence through various pretexts, albeit subtly.

His silence during the 2022 protests and the conflict in Gaza has fueled speculation that he may have been threatened by Hussein Nejat, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Sarallah Base. 

This theory has gained some credibility among observers.

Despite this, Ahmadinejad continues to seek public attention through foreign trips, the latest being his visit to Budapest.

Analysts speculate about his future plans, but without significant changes in the current political climate, his or his allies’ reentry into the political arena seems unlikely.

Many believe that only a change in leadership could create a favorable environment for Ahmadinejad’s return.

There are rumors that some of Ahmadinejad’s former managers within Ebrahim Raisi’s cabinet act as a “Trojan horse” for his ideology.

However, this does not imply that these individuals maintain a close relationship with Ahmadinejad or exert substantial influence on Raisi’s administration.

Ahmadinejad’s Trip to Budapest

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent trip to Budapest garnered significant media attention, partly due to protests from the Israeli Embassy and Jewish communities.

The former Iranian president visited Hungary’s capital at the invitation of the Ludovica National University of Public Service to participate in a scientific meeting on “Common Values in the Global Environment.”

However, his speech was not publicized, and his name did not appear on the university’s website.

A photo published on the Dolat Bahar website depicted a sparsely attended event.

The Ludovica National University of Public Service declined to comment on the matter when approached by the media.

Previously, in October of last year, Ahmadinejad managed to travel to Guatemala after a protest at the airport over the confiscation of his passport and an exit ban.

These foreign trips seem to be part of Ahmadinejad’s strategy to maintain his visibility internationally, with the hope that this prominence abroad might translate to influence within Iran.

What Are His People Doing?

Abbas Amirifar, a fundamentalist political activist and former advisor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has repeatedly stated in interviews that Ahmadinejad regularly meets with Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei in the north of Iran and visits Hamid Baghaei’s house twice a week for lengthy discussions – both were members of his administration.

These claims aim to highlight the continued influence of Mashaei and Baghaei on Ahmadinejad, suggesting that this faction remains active and seeks to shape the political landscape.

However, despite these assertions, there is little indication of Ahmadinejad or his associates reentering the political sphere.

Amirifar’s remarks also drew attention to figures like Mohammad Reza Farzin, the President of the Central Bank, who was reportedly associated with Mashaei and Baghaei.

Questions have been raised about Farzin’s appointment and his consultations with Mashaei in February.

Similarly, during the formation of Ebrahim Raisi’s government, individuals like Farhad Rahbar and Masoud Mirkazemi were accused of having ties to Ahmadinejad’s circle, leading to controversy and opposition from certain fundamentalist groups.

While Raisi’s government may share some similarities with Ahmadinejad’s administration, it does not necessarily indicate direct influence from Ahmadinejad.

The inclusion of ministers with past affiliations with Ahmadinejad’s government has been interpreted by some in the media as a potential conduit for Ahmadinejad’s ideology within Raisi’s administration, often referred to as a “Trojan horse” scenario.

However, despite these speculations, the direct influence of Ahmadinejad on the cabinet and its decisions remains unclear.

Ahmadinejad’s Silence About Gaza and Protests

The issue of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s silence on critical events, such as the war in Gaza and the 2022 protests, has drawn significant criticism in recent weeks.

Critics have highlighted his previous controversial remarks about the Holocaust and its repercussions for Iran, deeming his silence unjustifiable.

In response to queries about his stance, Ahmadinejad reportedly stated that if he were to speak, he would address all issues, including the 2022 protests.

His reluctance to comment on the protests has fueled speculation, with some suggesting that he views them as a result of power struggles among factions and therefore opts not to engage.

Reports suggest that Ahmadinejad has faced threats due to his silence.

In 2021, it was reported that Hossein Nejat, the commander of the Sarallah base of the IRGC, personally visited Ahmadinejad’s residence and threatened him with arrest.

Despite this, Ahmadinejad has not reacted significantly to protests in the past, indicating a reluctance to engage directly with public dissent.

He has expressed frustration with the lack of serious reaction to previous protests, questioning the necessity of engaging with people when one’s words cannot be defended.

In the current political climate, Ahmadinejad’s future prospects seem dim unless there is a significant change in the environment, which many believe would depend on future leadership.

Ahmadinejad’s inability to mobilize street protests, unlike figures such as Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, suggests a waning influence.

Consequently, his best course of action may be to await a shift in the political atmosphere while maintaining silence and preparing for potential opportunities in the future.