Supreme Leader Ali Khamenehi Tuesday named a mediator to try to cut through the knot.
Khamenehi named Ayatollah Mahmud Shahrudi, a member of the Council of Guardians and former chairman of the Judiciary, to tackle the problem. Shahrudi is a moderate widely respected in the country for an ability to see all sides of an issue.
The appointment was recognition that Khamenehi himself has been unable to bring the brouhaha to a halt despite repeated pleadings and directives.
Actually, President Ahmadi-nejad has turned comparatively moderate and has given in to the Majlis on one issue after another in recent months as he realized that his challenge to the Supreme Leader in April was a political disaster.
It is the Majlis that has continued to be tough on the president and seems to want to cut him down to size. However, even the Majlis has gotten more moderate with each passing week and it looked like the public brawl would eventually run out of steam.
Therefore, the decision to name a moderator appears to be an admission by Khamenehi that things are not actually trending as he would like.
Shahrudi is to head a panel of five in trying to end the dispute.
Many in Iran saw the naming of Shahrudi as a blow to the stature of former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who chairs the Expediency Council that normally looks to soften dispute inside the regime. The green opposition Sahamnews website denounced the appointment of Shahrudi as “an effort to sideline” Rafsanjani. However, others pointed out that Ahmadi-nejad seethes at the mere mention of Rafsanjani so that the former president could never serve as a moderator between anyone and Ahmadi-nejad.