[Yazdi] has been delivering major political speeches lately in which he seems to be challenging Ayatollah Khamenei’s position as the country’s supreme leader.
Khamenei is reportedly very angry at Mesbah’s recent speeches and the references to him as an 'Imam.'Other than the twelve hallowed and ordained leaders of the Shi'a faith, only the Islamic Republic's founding father Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has ever been called an 'Imam.' Not even the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is referred to by this title. In mid-May, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a senior member of the reformist clerical group the Assembly of Combatant Clergy, warned about the increasing power of Ahmadinejad's most supportive cleric:
"The Mesbahiyeh cult, which I have been warning about for years, is not sitting idle; this is a very dangerous and violent group that won’t show mercy to anyone, neither to the Imam, nor to ayatollah Khamenei. They are using him as a tool to reach their goals, and when they accomplish that, they would destroy the supreme leader too." (emphasis added).While Khamenei almost certainly gave the green light to steal last year's presidential election, he was never truly a part of the fringe "New Right" that has taken Iran hostage. Rather, through his reaffirmation of the rigged vote, his fate became instantly tied with Ahmadinejad's. Nonetheless, some dissent -- however censored and subdued it may be -- still exists in the Islamic Republic. Were the fanatical Mesbah Yazdi to make a move to become Supreme Leader, an unlikely but still alarming prospect, 2009's coup d'etat will have truly come to culmination.