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Ahmadinejad turns out a moderate

Assad and AhmadinejadIn a CNN interview, Ahmadinejad promised to encourage Assad to ‘reach an understanding’ with the opposition if NATO do not interfere. Soon after, Syria cancelled a scheduled visit by Iran’s FM.

The message is clear: Assad is counting on the support of Ayatollah Khamenei and refuses to accept mediation by Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president is now in a no-win situation: if NATO ejects Assad, Iran loses some of its influence, and if Assad stays, his contacts would be with the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards rather than Iran’s political branch, which is headed by Ahmadinejad.

But it’s too late. By the time Ahmadinejad emerges as the West’s best friend in Iran, he will be too weak politically to be of any use; and in any case, he is on his way out, as his successor cannot win the next elections.

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