When Leon Panetta, the new United States defense secretary, declared on September 6 that it was only "a matter of time" before an Arab Spring-style revolution came to Iran, it seemed to smack of wishful thinking.
In a single day earlier this week, the Iranian parliament dealt three blows to the presidency of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who has become a political punching bag as the result of a continuing power struggle with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The battle has heated up over Ahmadinejad’s repeated attempts to make inroads into Khamenei’s spheres of influence.
For years he has treated it with imperious disdain. But now, with his political capital hemorrhaging, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is being subjected to a relentless assault by Iran's parliament with the apparent approval of the country's most powerful cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.
Russia is upping the ante in the Caspian Sea with talk of bolstering its naval forces. The move reflects Moscow’s frustration over the inability of the five Caspian littoral states to define the sea’s boundaries.
Whenever cornered, Mahmud Ahmadinejad always seems to come out swinging. But Iran's notoriously abrasive president appears in danger of suffering a knockout blow over his political attachment to Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, a man widely seen as a threat to the country's clerical-based political system.