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Viewing cable 10BAKU98, IRAN: JAFARI REPORTEDLY SLAPS AHMEDINEJAD AT SNSC

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BAKU98 2010-02-11 10:10 2010-12-29 21:09 SECRET Embassy Baku
VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKB #0098 0421023
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 111023Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2384
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T BAKU 000098

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2020
TAGS: PGOV PARM PHUM AJ IR
SUBJECT: IRAN: JAFARI REPORTEDLY SLAPS AHMEDINEJAD AT SNSC
MEETING; TUDEH RE-EMERGING?

REF: A. A) 2009 BAKU 972
B. B) 2009 BAKU 921
C. C) 2009 BAKU 920 (NOTAL)
d. D) 2009 BAKU 909

Classified By: xxxxx for Reasons 1.4 (b and
d)

1. (S) Baku Iran watcher met with xxxxx
(strictly protect - see reftels).

He who Got Slapped
------------------

2. (S) According to source, President Ahmedinejad surprised
other SNSC members by taking a surprisingly liberal posture
during a mid January post-Ashura meeting of the SNSC called
to discuss next steps on dealing with opposition protests.
Source said that Ahmedinejad claimed that "people feel
suffocated," and mused that to defuse the situation it may be
necessary to allow more personal and social freedoms,
including more freedom of the press.

3. (S) According to source, Ahmedinejad's statements
infuriated Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali
Jafari, who exclaimed "You are wrong! (In fact) it is YOU
who created this mess! And now you say give more freedom to
the press?!" Source said that Jafarli then slapped
Ahmedinejad in the face, causing an uproar and an immediate
call for a break in the meeting, which was never resumed.
Source said that SNSC did not meet again for another two
weeks, after Ayatollah Janati succesfully acted as a
"peacemaker" between Jafarli and Ahmedinejad. Source added
that the break in the SNSC meeting, but not the slap that
caused it, has made its way on to some Iranian blogs.

Sides Preparing for New Confrontations
--------------------------------------

4. (S) Meanwhile, source said, both sides are digging in for
new confrontations, while various sub-groups maneuver. He
stressed the importance of recent speeches by Karroubi and
Khatami to the effect that Ahmedinejad will not be able
finish his term, and that Supreme Leaders should not take
partisan political sides. He stressed that "Karroubi chooses
each word carefully," and aid the recent speeches reflect an
ongoing effort to split Khameini from the Ahmedinejad group.
Source described the overall political situation within and
without the political elite as "getting worse and worse." xxxxx
opined that this situation (of protests and instability)
cannot be sustained indefinitely, and predicted that events
are trending towards major developments and a new phases.
Asked what Iran will likely look like over the next year, he
responded "ask me after 22 Bahman (February 11)."

Tudeh Acticsts Re-Emerging?
--------------------------

5. (S) Source (a former non-Marxist revolutionary activist)
also asserted that the Iranian Tudeh (communist) party is
reorganizing among factory and government workers, and
intellectuals. He claimed that many former Tudeh
sympathizers hold positions in the bureaucracy and elsewhere,
and opined that many still privately support the movement.
He mentioned one xxxxx organizer who
has re-emerged behind the scenes of recent bus worker and
other labor strikes.
Lu