TEHRAN: Iran’s political power struggles have brought no shortage of cutthroat intrigue with careers ruined, government officials arrested and even accusations of black magic. And now this — firebrand president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the voice of liberal dissent.
That’s the latest twist in the showdown between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s ruling clerics. Ahmadinejad — reviled by the opposition as a figurehead of hard-line rule — is now temporarily in the reformists’ corner by opposing plans to segregate male and
female students at Iranian universities. “It is necessary to swiftly prevent these backward, shallow-minded actions,” Ahmadinejad wrote in an order addressed to members of his Cabinet.
It also nudged the political dramas further into territory that’s surprising even by Iran’s roughneck standards, where potshots and bitter quarrels are common fare in parliament and elsewhere. This time, the battle is Ahmadinejad versus the theocracy that once backed him.