The American press consistently portrays President Ahmadinejad as the all powerful leader of Iran despite his rather limited authority in making decisions since anything of importance is overseen by religious rulers in the nation. The Iranian parliament yesterday elected the country’s former chief nculear negotiator, Ali Larijani, as its Speaker, even though he has often been critical of Ahmadinejad’s leadership. Larijani, a prominent conservative, quit his position last year due to his differences with the president on how to handl the nuclear dispute with the west. Within moments after assuming his new position, Larijani made clear his nation disagreed with the latest report by he Inernational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which said Iran might be withholding information needed to determine if it is working on making nuclear weapons.
Larijani bluntly staed that if the UN continues making charges against Iran, “the parliament will set new limits on cooperation with the IAEA.” It is interesting that he made clear it was “parliament” which would set limits, not the president. In gaining the support of 232 of the 263 votes cast, Larijani made himself a powerful rival to Ahmadinejad in deciding policy in Iran. His power stems from close ties with clerical leaders of the nation. It is unclear as to exactly which new directions he wishes Iran to pursue.