An Iranian scholar who met with an American source in Azerbaijan said that Iranians love President Obama and value his efforts to reach out to Tehran. "He's the only politician I've ever liked," he admitted. In the cable from the embassy in Baku the scholar also claimed that "in general, the US was and is very popular among Iranians."
During the conversation, which took place just a few months after the controversial presidential elections in Iran, the scholar argued that Iran is currently going through a "historic psychological and political transformation", and portrayed Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as someone who isn't close to or especially supportive of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. He added that Khameini was "caught in this political maelstrom between a rock (Rafsanjani) and a hard place (Mesbah Yazdi's circle), and searching for room to maneuver."
Beware of the ayatollah
According to the scholar, the extremist Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi's political power is greater than that of President Ahmedinejad's and that he was "the single most important player in the election fraud and also played a key role in many other regime pre- and post-election actions ". He described Mesbah Yazdi's political ideology as "deeply anti-liberal democratic" and claimed that foreign observers "widely underestimated" his influence on the Islamic Republic.
Another WikiLeaks cable reveals that businessmen looking to operate in Iran are forced to find themselves Iranian partners with high-level regime connections, as one Turkish businessman told the Americans in 2009. He claimed he was connected to the son of Supreme Leader Khamenei in order to do business in the Islamic Republic.
A cable from the same year reveals that Tehran warned journalists working abroad to cease contact with "American diplomats asking questions about Iran." The cable describes one incident where an Iranian journalist from English news channel Press TV working in Istanbul was told to keep away from US diplomats asking about Iran.
WikiLeaks also revealed that it wasn't only Jordan's King Abdullah who was worried over the growing influence of the Islamic Republic on the Middle East. Speaking to members of an Jordanian MFA-organized delegation of staffers from the US Senate, Queen Rania of Jordan described various efforts Jordan was making to battle against the Iranian influence but admitted that "sometimes it feels like we're swimming against the current."
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