In the twisted political scene in Iran, with less than seven weeks to the election, understanding who the frontrunners are is as complicated as cracking Da Vinci’s code.
Like a mystery novel full of clues and hints, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has opened a new chapter in this 34-year-old Islamic republic by threatening to expose the dirty secrets of his rivals.
The dirty secrets, which according to Ahmadinejad “if revealed would no longer allow [his rivals] a place in society,” have made analysts speculate whether the president is holding a suitcase full of evidence about top officials and their financial corruption.
Like a Leonardo Da Vinci painting filled with mystery and subtlety, Ahmadinejad has created a political scene with enough intrigue to bring fear to insiders. Just as the Vatican worries that if Jesus’s marriage and Mary Magdalene’s priesthood were proven, they would revolutionize Christianity, Tehran fears that if Ahmadinejad reveals his unknown secrets (which he claims) about members in the hierarchy, he can challenge the entire system.
Step by step, Ahmadinejad has damaged the reputation of some of the most well-known revolutionary families. He began with former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who ran against him eight years ago. Ahmadinejad successfully damaged the reputation of this revolutionary pillar.
Like a Leonardo Da Vinci painting filled with mystery and subtlety, Ahmadinejad has created a political scene with enough intrigue to bring fear to insiders.Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
In 2005, voters elected Ahmadinejad largely over fear that a re-elected Hashemi Rafsanjani would allow him and his children to loot the country and drain human capital.
In his next step, Ahmadinejad confronted the revolutionary guards two years ago when in public he called them “our own dear smugglers’ brothers.”
Most recently, Ahmadinejad focused on the Larijani brothers, particularly Ali Larijani who currently heads the parliament and has always been keen to run for the presidency. Ahmadinejad shattered his dream when he broadcast secret footage showing Larijani’s younger brother Fazel Laojani offering a bribe to an official( Saeed Mortazavi).
Later, when Larijani spoke to locals in Qom (his constituency in parliament) attendees threw prayer paraphernalia to dismiss his preaching. Only a few months ago Larijani’s name was among the most favored names in the conservative camp for the presidency.
On a fateful day in parliament, broadcast live on radio, millions of Iranians heard Larijani and Ahmadinejad argue, and witnessed the shame brought to the Larijani brothers. Ali Larijani’s file to run for the election is closed for now!
Ahmadinejad’s Last Supper?
Despite the damage already made, the president is still threatening to reveal more names and the big one in the near future. Speculators wonder whether he will reveal secret Swiss accounts or perhaps secret ties between senior officials in Iran and Israel.
In The Last Supper, Da Vinci portrayed the reaction of each apostle when Jesus said that one of them would betray him. Each of the twelve apostles shows a different reaction to the news with varying degrees of anger and shock.
Ahmadinejad is creating a similar scene, making claims and watching for reactions.
Figures like Major General Hassan Firouzabadi Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces and Hojat al-Islam Ahmad Khatami from the Council of Guardians and even some grand ayatollahs in Qom have asked Ahmadinejad to put an end to these public disturbances.
It appears Ahmadinejad has fearlessly done what he believes is necessary before the end of his term regardless of the implications it has for his endorsed candidates and their likelihood of winning the presidency.
His rivals are busy trying to decode his mysterious speeches to understand whether he has real evidence against them or is simply bluffing.
If the president has been blamed for the bad economy, inflation, added sanctions, poor job market and other failures, he can be credited for bringing shame to many in the system.
He has to be encouraged to reveal his so-called major secret before the end of this presidency if he is to fulfill his duty to the people. The Da Vinci code must be unlocked by the master!
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard