Foundation of the Islamic republic falters

June 26, 2009 at 2:26 PM
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TEHRAN, June 26 (UPI) -- Unrest in the wake of the Iranian election has moved from a challenge to the election results to one of the political system, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The normally politically ambiguous Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei broke from traditional impartiality to endorse Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the victor in the disputed June 12 election.

The doctrines defining the political system in Iran holds the supreme leader as the ultimate authority, serving as an unbiased adviser for the republic.

Arab leaders and jurists said the divisions apparent in the streets of Iran, however, have percolated to challenge the basic doctrines defining the Islamic republic.

"The infallible leader is all of a sudden making a lot of mistakes, and this creates a lot of doubt," says Lebanese Shiite lawmaker Ghazi Youssef. Political analyst Sami al-Faraj with the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies, meanwhile, describes the Iranian political system as "fractured."

Beyond that, Iran's Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who fell out of favor with Khamenei following disputes over civil rights, told the Journal in a faxed statement from Iran that the violent reaction to the street demonstrations threatens to "uproot" the Iranian political philosophy.

Demonstrators, for their part, in the wake of the election have shifted from the obligatory "Death to America" to the once-unheard of "Death to Khamenei."

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