President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is trying to consolidate power in the office of the presidency in a way never before seen in the 27 years of the Islamic republic, apparently with the tacit approval of Iran's supreme leader, according to government officials and political analysts here.We need to stick with the likes of Abbas Hakim Zadeh,
That rare unity of elected and religious leadership at the highest levels offers the United States an opportunity to talk to a government, however combative, that has often spoken with multiple voices at cross purposes.
But if the United States, which severed relations with Iran after the 1979 revolution, opened such a dialogue, it could increase the prestige of the Iranian president, who has pushed toward confrontation with the West.
Political analysts and people close to the government say Ahmadinejad and his allies are trying to buttress a system of conservative clerical rule that had lost credibility with the public.
Their strategy hinges on trying to win concessions from the West on Iran's nuclear program and opening direct, high-level talks with the United States, while easing social restrictions, cracking down on political dissent and building a new political class from outside the clergy.
"However if the idea is for Iran to get security guarantees embedded in it that the regime can suppress the human rights and the will of the people, that is something the Iranian student movement, the Iranian labor movement and the Iranian women's rights groups reject firmly and totally."