Analysis: With elections Friday, only question is who Ayatollah will tap to be face of his despotic regime.

Will Khamenei tap Saeed Jalili, Iran's nuclear negotiator, to be the country's next president?

Will Khamenei tap Saeed Jalili, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, to be the country’s next president?

This is an important week in the history of modern Iran. Indeed, it could prove a turning point in Iran’s nuclear weapons program and the region’s march towards a major war.

On Friday, millions of Iranians will turn out to vote in national elections, hoping to choose their country’s next President. Actually, the whole exercise will once again be a sham. It might look like democracy on television. But behind the scenes, the forces of the Ayatollah Khamenei will be stuffing the ballot boxes to make sure the Supreme Leader’s personal choice is “elected.” That’s how Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first “elected” in 2005. That’s how Ahmadinejad was “re-elected” in 2009. That’s how all “elections” are done in Iran. It’s all for show. The only vote that counts is Khamenei’s.

The question this week isn’t whether the will of the suffering Iranian people will prevail. (It won’t.)

The question is simply this: Who does Khamenei want to be the face of the regime?

Ahmadinejad is stepping down after eight years in office. He is legally barred from serving more than two four-year terms. He was Khamenei’s choice in the past because the two share a deep and passionate belief that the Islamic “messiah” known as the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam is coming at any moment. Together, they made it their mission to prepare the way for the Twelfth Imam’s arrival and for their jihadist ”War of Annihilation” to wipe Israel and the Jewish people “off the map.” Unfortunately for Khamenei, Ahmadinejad was not simply a zealous true believer in the End of Days. He was also a nut who repeatedly embarrassed the Supreme Leader inside Iran and the global stage.

I am, therefore, curious to see who Khamenei will choose. My operating theory is that he will pick someone deeply loyal to him personally, intensely loyal to his regime and its nuclear weapons program, yet not an overt religious fanatic. I tend to believe he will pick someone who will be a tough, firm, hard line defender of the Iranian government, but also one who is more savvy on the international diplomatic front and won’t embarrass Khamenei.

After all, I believe Khamenei’s main goal now is to keep Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the world from doing anything decisive to stop Iran from getting The Bomb. That likely means someone who will keep negotiations going, offering a bone here and a bone there, but all the while simply buying time until Iran has an operational arsenal of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them against the Jewish state and her allies.

Here are the leading eight “candidates”:

Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, an Iranian parliament member, just announced this weekend that he is dropping out of the race.

Several other major Iranian political leaders were barred from running, including former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and Ahmadinejad’s protégé, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie.

No one is watching Iran this week closer that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Netanyahu and Yaalon believe Iran is dangerously close — or at — the “red line” Netanyahu laid out at the U.N. last fall. That is, they believe Iran is at or near the point that they could build not just one nuclear warhead but several, and thus very close to the point Israel may have to launch a preemptive military strike since the international community has not take decisive action to keep Iran from crossing the red line.

That said, the Israelis do hold out the possibility, however slim, that Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei might use the occasion of Iran’s so-called “elections” this Friday to signal a significant backing away from his current bid for The Bomb. But they are not holding their breath.

Sure, if Khamenei dies this week, and is miraculously replaced by someone who does not want to usher in the coming of the Twelfth Imam, and export the Islamic Revolution, and keep Iran the leading sponsor of terrorism, and wipe Israel off the map, and bring down the so-called “Great Satan” of America, then it will be a positive week indeed and a reason for hope.

Short of that, we can have no doubt that Khamenei will keep pressing forward for nuclear weapons on his operating assumption that world leaders are not going to stop him, and that Israel will flinch and do nothing decisive to stop him either.

Once Israel and the world sees who Khamenei has chosen to be the face of the regime, we’ll have a better sense of how the drama will play out throughout the year. War could be close. We must continue praying for the peace of Jerusalem and for all the people of the regime.

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>> To learn more about the Bible prophecies of the “War of Gog & Magog,” please click here.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

I’ll be on Hannity’s Mideast Special on Friday night to discuss Iran nuclear threat & whether Obama gave Netanyahu the “green light.”

Giving Sean a signed copy of "Damascus Countdown" tonight on the set of his Mideast Special.

Giving Sean a signed copy of “Damascus Countdown” tonight on the set of his Mideast Special.

I’m in Manhattan tonight as a guest on Sean Hannity’s TV show. Earlier this evening, Sean pre-taped a one-hour special on the President’s trip to Israel. It will air on the Fox News Channel on Friday night at 9pm eastern.

It was a great and lively discussion with a fascinating group of guests. Together, we analyzed the President’s trip to Israel, the Iran nuclear threat, whether Netanyahu has been given a “green light” to strike Iran, why the U.S. is selling fighter jets and tanks to Egypt now that it is run by the Muslim Brotherhood, looking back at the Iraq war 10 years later, and the threat of Radical Islam generally, among several other topics. Sean asked me about my novels and how I use them to help people imagine worst case scenarios. We discussed Damascus Countdown in particular and afterwards I gave Sean a signed copy.

As I mentioned, it was a fascinating and experienced group of Middle East experts, including:

  • John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
  • Elliott Abrams, former Deputy National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush
  • Congressman Pete King of New York, a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and former Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee
  • Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas, Vice Chair of the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • K.T. McFarland, Fox News national security analyst who held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations

I hope you’ll tune in Friday, or set your DVR. In the meantime, please keep praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Clearly, these are increasingly dangerous times.

>> To learn more about Damascus Countdown, click here


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog