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In an odd twist, the BBC reports that Moqtada al-Sadr's mentor, Iranian Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, has denounced Sadr for fighting US troops and has essentially fired Sadr as his representative in Najaf:
A senior religious leader in Iran has severed ties with radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for encouraging his followers to fight US troops. Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, one of the top authorities in Shia Islam, said Mr Sadr was no longer his representative in the holy city of Najaf.
A spokesman said that Mr Sadr's actions no longer reflected the ideas of the Grand Ayatollah's teachings.
But he praised a scheme to disarm Shia militias in Baghdad's Sadr City slum.
Haeri went on to blame US and British troops for damage done to shrines in Najaf, but scolded Sadr for mounting armed attacks in the first place. Haeri leads the Shi's from Qom, known for its radical view of Islam and its belief that Islam should not only guide the personal lives of its followers but also should provide leadership for public life as well. Given that, Haeri's renunciation of Sadr is rather puzzling.
Even more puzzling is Haeri's endorsement of the Iraqi government's disarmament plan in Sadr City. The Iranian ayatollah announced his approval of the Allawi plan to strip Sadr's forces of its heavy weaponry in the only political stronghold it has left. Allawi has spoken of his desire to offer the same plan across Iraq if it works well in the vast Baghdad slum that has been the haven of many terrorists operating in the Sunni triangle.
Does Haeri's statement indicate a retreat by the Iranians as the Americans begin to agitate for action on the mullahcracy's nuclear program? The timing certainly indicates something is up, as the Iranians made an offer today to "prove" that they are not pursuing N-weapons technology if the West allows them to use nuclear power peacefully:
Iran is ready to prove to the world it is not producing atomic weapons provided the West recognizes the Islamic Republic's right to peaceful nuclear technology, President Mohammad Khatami said Wednesday. ...
Iranian officials say they are open to talks but will never give up uranium enrichment -- a process which can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors or material for atom bombs.
"If our rights are recognized and they admit that Iran can have peaceful nuclear technology we will present everything necessary to prove that Iran will not produce an atomic bomb. But we will not give up our rights," Khatami said.
Should Iran reject the EU trio's offer, most European states are expected to back Washington's demand that Iran be reported to the U.N. Security Council when the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors meet in late November.
Either the Iranians have become spooked by US insistence on some backbone in the nuclear-proliferation talks on behalf of the EU-3 or they have decided that Sadr wasn't going anywhere anyway, and cutting him loose publicly makes them look more reasonable. Either way, it represents some movement on behalf of the Iranians, who have gone out of their way to be belligerent during the weapons negotiations and in the aftermath of Saddam's fall. It's hard to imagine either of these developments occurring under an American administration that promises to fall all over itself to deliver nuclear fuel to the Iranians as a test of the goodwill of the same Islamist mullahcracy that openly sponsors Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Iranian Ayatollah Stops Support for al Sadr from InTheBullpen.com
- BBC (via Captain's Quarters) A senior religious leader in Iran has severed ties with radical Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr for encouraging his followers to fight US troops. Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, one of the top authorities in Shia Islam, ... [Read More]
Tracked on October 20, 2004 9:14 AM
» Not fooling anyone from Galen's Log
Captain Ed notes that Iran is dumping Sadr. Either the Iranians have become spooked by US insistence on some backbone in the nuclear-proliferation talks on behalf of the EU-3 or they have decided that Sadr wasn't going anywhere anyway, and [Read More]
Tracked on October 20, 2004 11:14 AM
» A link assortment from A Physicist's Perspective
I don't know what it means, but a senior cleric in Iran who is sort of al-Sadr's mentor has severed ties with al-Sadr, denounced him, and endorsed some of the Iraqi government's disarmament plans. Captain Ed has the story. Orin Kerr over at the Vo... [Read More]
Tracked on October 20, 2004 12:14 PM
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