In August, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Mohammad Dastgheib, a senior cleric and member of the Assembly of Experts, called for an emergency meeting of the Assembly. In a later statement, Dastgheib made it clear that he was sympathetic to the opposition movement, stating then that "the protests and demonstrations...show that the people are still not satisfied with the election process and its result because of noncompliance with the law." People would have no complaints about the election if the law had been followed, Dastgheib reasoned, as they were the ones who went out and voted.
A month later, Dastgheib has charged Supreme Leader Khamenei with apostasy. Quite a charge given that this is, after all, the Islamic Republic. The video of Dastgheib condemning both Khamenei and the current state of affairs is linked (in Farsi) below:
Should things continue deteriorate - and if today's warning from the Revolutionary Guard of a "crushing confrontation" on Quds day is any indicator, that is indeed the trend - then the constitutional role of the Assembly of Experts again gains relevance. Article 107 of the Islamic Republic's constitution gives the right of appointing - and removing - the Supreme Leader to the Assembly.
What remains to be seen is how many of body's 85 other clerics feel as Dastgheib does. Rafsanjani, it should not be forgotten, is the head of the Assembly of Experts. Earlier reports of him playing minority whip to secure enough votes for Khamenei's ouster were either false or were accurate and he was simply unsuccessful. Two-thirds of the body's members are needed to take such action, unprecedented in the regime's short 30-year history.
But if tomorrow's confrontation promises to be "crushing," then more and more clerics and members of the Assembly may be making statements similar to Dastgheib's soon.
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