0630 GMT: The Ceremony. And with that reference to the brief disturbance caused by the enemy, the Supreme Leader is back to praising Iranian officials and their “great achievements”, with “great security” that has thwarted the enemy. There is economic progress, and scientific achievement of “11- or 12-fold”.
0625 GMT: The Ceremony. The Supreme Leader hits his stride about a “10-year enemy plot” — “I don’t have any specific evidence. This is just my interpretation.”
And now the reference to the 2009 Presidential election: “the enemy was of the conviction that it could have made its plot work.” The passage is somewhat rambling, as the Supreme Leader says “the enemy…created unrest for 2 or 3 months in Tehran”.
This plot, of course, was defeated by the Iranian people, who rallied for the regime on Qods Day and Ashura in 2009. [Ed’s Note: This is a bit of a revision of history, given that the Green Movement had its public high point on Ashura with mass gatherings that even pushed back security forces.]
0622 GMT: A Clerical Intervention. A different type of remembrance of Ayatollah Khomeini yesterday by Ayatollah Dastgheib, as he continues his criticism of the regime — “The Imam didn’t want to be an absolute ruler but guide people to goodness. You have defamed Islam.”
0620 GMT: The Ceremony. Now it is getting a bit more interesting. The Supreme Leader takes aim at those who defy “spirituality” and “distance people from society”, “keeping young people from participating in the political events”.
He continues, “These people have deviated.”
0610 GMT: The Battle Within. Not much happening at the Khomeini ceremony beyond the Supreme Leader’s lengthy tribute, so a quick reminder of last night’s LiveBlog….
Any supposed political truce was rocked on Friday by a series of statements, including the declaration by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi — the former “spiritual mentor” of the President — that the Ahmadinejad camp is “trash” and the attack by a clerical representative of the Supreme Leader upon the Revolutionary Guards and Ayatollah Khamenei’s office.
And this video puts a bit more fuel on the flames. Revolutionary Guards Commander Saeed Qassemi taunts Ahmadinejad, “You released the eight British spies with the help of British Ambassador.”
Qassemi is referring to the detention and release in 2007 of 15 British naval personnel, seized when their boat allegedly strayed into Iranian waters.
0603 GMT: The Ceremony. Ahmadinejad is in the front row of the audience, between Khomeini’s grandson Seyed Hassan and the head of judiciary, Sadegh Larijani (and two seats from his rival, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani). He is looking uncomfortable.
Other major Iranian political and religious figures are also present, including Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani.
0600 GMT: The Supreme Leader is already speaking in Tehran, paying tribute to Ayatollah Khomeini for making the “Iranian nation believe they are the real owners of the country”.
0545 GMT: Iran’s state media are already featuring today’s ceremonies marking the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, as “millions of Iranians from across the country travel to Tehran to pay tribute to the late leader”. The press and broadcasters are announcing that “Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will address the gathering on Saturday”.
What they are not saying is that President Ahmadinejad will not be addressing that gathering.
In the midst of Iran’s political conflict, Ahmadinejad was rebuffed by the Khomeini Foundation last month. The organisers declared that, as the President had not met the deadline to announce his attendance, he would not be speaking.
The simple but effective rejection was another blow against the President in his contest for power with the Supreme Leader, the Guardian, Parliament, and the judiciary. It was also payback for 4 June 2010, when his supporters shouted down Khomeini’s grandson at the Tehran ceremony.
And there was more embarrassment for Ahmadinejad last night. The President tried to regain ground at a memorial ceremony, but his speech was interrupted by competing chants, as critics denounced his right-hand man Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai.
it looks like A’jad is in trouble