Zakaria: Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on December 18, 2011.
March 21st, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Zakaria: Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The Iranian regime has been deeply divided ever since the disputed 2008 elections and the rise of the Green Movement. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used to be Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s protégé. The two are now clearly at odds.

When I was in Iran in the fall of 2011, one could clearly sense that there were two rival centers of power with Khamenei's clearly being the more powerful one.

The result of the external pressure - sanctions, rhetoric against Iran, and threats of military strikes - has been to shift power to the hardliners. You can see Ahmadinejad’s power has weakened. It’s weird to call Ahmadinejad the moderate but in this context he is. Khamenei is far less willing to strike any deals with the West. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, has wanted to be the man who delivered some kind of negotiated settlement to Iran’s problems.

Today, Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker. Ayatollah Khamenei is strong and getting stronger. The people who have been most empowered the past few years have been the Revolutionary Guard - the military. Iran is in the process of morphing from a theocracy to a military dictatorship. It’s not clear what impact this will have on foreign policy - but it is an interesting consequence of all the external pressure on Iran.

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Topics: From Fareed • Iran

soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Benish ahmed

    It is really too bad that cnn should offer this service of responding to the given topic, preferably on a somewhat intelligent, if at least, mature level. it is so common for those who find fault and blame otheres, to find themselves at fault and to blame. it is the fault of the nature of mankind from the beginning of time, to attribute all the success to themselves and all the blame to otheres. lets all practice this "i am sorry, i should not have said/done such unto you. let us work together to find common ground that we shall share the successes and burdens equally." everytime men create disaster, afterwards, they work together to clean it up. how about we just work together from the start, and avoid the disaster completely. salaam

    March 23, 2012 at 12:14 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      Wow that was deep!
      What did it mean?

      March 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Reply
  2. Libtart

    Zakaria is getting weaker!

    March 23, 2012 at 3:34 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      In what way?

      March 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Reply
      • David Marriott

        Zakaria's writing skills have deteriorated and it's evident that he isn't getting top billing anymore on the left wing propaganda circuit any more! ...saying that ahmadinejad is getting weaker isn't really helping our half wit presidents image or his lack of foriegn policy either!

        March 24, 2012 at 3:47 am |
      • Patrick

        David err Abdul, "evident"???
        Mr. Zakaria still has a job which he does efficiently.

        March 24, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  3. JimfromBham

    Diplomacy has always been composed of "carrots and sticks" options. After all, wasn't it Klauswitz who said something like the use of the military was simply an extension of diplomacy? In any event, we are seeing the rawest edges of the manipulative style of diplomacy in the relationship between Iran and the rest of the world.

    March 23, 2012 at 4:51 am | Reply
  4. mike

    it seems some of you will argue with anything Zakaria says. Is this human nature or do people of middle eastern descent like to argue for some reason.

    March 23, 2012 at 5:52 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      They like to argue with facts they pull out of their as ses.
      They simply do not understand saying anything without lying.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  5. Coprolito

    Ahmadinejad is weak and the Ayatollah is getting stronger. Muslim clerics are the leaders of political parties of the "Arab Spring", terrorist organizations, and Islamic governments. No wonder violence, hatred, terrorism, discrimination is becoming the norm.

    March 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  6. Tom, Dick and Harry

    Tom: He's weak and getting weaker?
    Dick: I disagree, is this not the same man that called the US out on 9/11 during a UN meeting and all the US representatives could do was (cowardly) vacate the meeting.
    Harry: It sucks when you are so ashamed of what your country does that you can't even verbally defend it.
    Tom: oh great here it comes....
    Harry: I can see this Zionist banker cartel, planning to replace obama with a Obiden.
    Dick: What is wrong with you are you from the Palin family tree?
    Tom: Harry is being an antisemite... I learned that from the great elders of Zion.
    Harry: Yeah Tom you studied the protocols well.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Serious case of multiple personality disorder buddy.
      Do not waste a minute and go see a psychiatrist or ask Allah for help.
      Seriously!

      March 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
      • Donald

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        April 21, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  7. NorCalMojo

    Another analysis by Zakaria that advises us to do nothing. What a surprise.

    Iran is going to get the bomb. It's a matter of time.

    March 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • Patrick

      Hamdulilah! he gets it.

      March 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  8. vistarian2011

    Iran will not get a bomb. There is no need for that now.

    Iran will more likely self destruct from a terrible implosion – and massive unrest. Iranians do not want this wasteful confrontation with the rest of the world to continue forever. It has to stop somewhere.

    Political and religious edicts from the leaders is not giving them food and water – and normalcy in their lives.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • blucorsair

      Historically, desperate nations have resorted to desperate measures which is an even greater reason to be afraid of this type of a fanatical theocracy! A classical example of this is WWI Germany and the treaty of Versailles that our own president Woodrow Wilson refused to sign, stating that it would cause another war, because of impoverished people there! He was proven correct shortly afterwards with the outbreak of WWII! In essence"bad things can happen when supposedly good men choose to do nothing! ...or atomic weaponry is nothing to mess around with, because radiation is not bound by borders!

      March 24, 2012 at 4:21 am | Reply
  9. Valsor

    For as long as Iran does not renounce its publicized goal of annihilating Israel, there can't be peace for Iran.

    March 24, 2012 at 1:47 am | Reply
  10. Pouya

    It is amazing how many people actually responded to this short blog by Fareed. With all due respect to Fareed, the subject of power is much more sophisticated in Iran that he put into these simple conclusions. Ahmadinejad himself comes from the Revolutionary Guard that raised to this level of power in military and economy with Ahmadinejad's help and support too. The reason for the Leader and the parliament to disagree with Ahmadinejad is combination of things most of which is related to the very fact of Ahmadinejad's complete lack of diplomatic skills. In other words, Ahmadinejad is now a liability for the regime and in the establishment's eyes, he needs to be minimized. But that has has nothing to do with Iran becoming a military dictatorship. Iran is too big, too populated, and too educated for any absolute dictatorship to be fully enforced. Iranian regime has made many mistakes and wrong decisions but one should not consider them simple nor irrational.

    March 25, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  11. arman

    We Iranians people love Israel. They are our brothers and sisters. They are part of us and we part of them. its just the American imperialistic government , the Zionist govt, and the Islamic govt wants war to get their pockets richer.

    March 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
  12. Alsace

    well said Pouya.

    March 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  13. joho

    Ahmadinejad caused a global gaffaw when he confidently declared, while in America, that Iran do not have gay people.

    That to me was a measurement of how irrational, and disconnected, the present Iranian leaders are with the real world.

    I think after he is gone, Ahmadenejad will long be remembered for that famous line he made while visiting USA.

    March 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  14. Akkuschrauber

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    April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
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