Infighting in Iran: Family feud

The speaker looks down on the president

AS A presidential election approaches in June, the power struggle within Iran’s ruling circle is becoming more vicious. On February 3rd the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, astonished members of parliament. In the middle of a speech, he played them a videotape that sought to incriminate one of the most powerful families in the land, the Larijanis. The next day the chief prosecutor in the capital, Tehran, announced that one of the most notorious of the country’s former prosecutors, Saeed Mortazavi, whom critics have dubbed “the butcher of the press” and “the torturer of Tehran”, had been arrested and held in jail; he was released a few days later. No reason was given, though Mr Mortazavi, a close ally of the Larijanis, had featured adversely in the damning videotape.Two days later Mr Ahmadinejad flew to Cairo for the first visit by an Iranian head of state to Egypt since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979. No one outside the regime’s murky inner circle knows how the row will end or what it could mean for Iran’s future. But the gloves are off.Mr Mortazavi had apparently been…

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