NUCLEAR RIVALS IN TEHERAN
It has been little remarked in the crisis but Iran's nuclear program is a pivotal political football in elite factional intrigue within Iran's ruling hierarchy.
Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and an opposing candidate to President Ahmadinejad in the las election heads the powerful Expediency Council that mediates between the elected government and the unelected clerical elite. Rafsanjani used that position Tuesday to steal some of the limelight on the nuclear issue
by preempting his rival, Ahmadinejad's announcement
The two men are bitter rivals as Ahmadinejad's campaign theme against corruption was obviously aimed at Rafsanjani whose family grew very wealthy during the former president's time in government. Both men were ardent disciples of Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini though the machiavellian Rafsanjani is a cleric and Ahmadinejad, whose power base is in the Pasdaran and among radical extremists, is not.