Skip to comments.In Iran, a New Challenge to Hard-liners
Posted on 10/23/2011 8:04:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
A rapid succession of challenges directed at Iran in recent days has reignited a debate in Tehran over how to deal with the rest of the world.
Iran's rulers, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, continue to refuse any negotiations in which they would have to compromise. But an influential faction is now pushing for back-channel talks with the United States as a step toward lowering the tensions raised by U.S. allegations about an Iranian assassination plot.
In urging that Iran do more to address foreign criticism, members of the group have also pointed to the rising international pressure over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program and to a new, highly critical United Nations report on human rights violations in the country.
...the opposition faction, which was forced out of the government in 2009, says the uncompromising policies adopted by Iran's hard-line leaders have left the country with little room to maneuver.
Among the former politicians and activists who have spoken out on the subject in recent days is former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who called Monday for more "tact and management" in Iran's handling of controversial international issues.
A pragmatic politician once regarded as the most powerful man in Iran, Rafsanjani was pushed out of an inner circle of leaders by supporters of Khamenei in a unprecedented purge after anti-government protests that challenged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's 2009 election victory. Rafsanjani, who enjoyed close relations with the Saudi royal family, is an unofficial leader of a faction that had pushed for more personal freedoms for Iranians and better relations with other countries...
The Obama administration said Saturday that it would use a November report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program to press for an escalation of sanctions against the country.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...