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Mojtaba Khamenei's move dismays clerics and Revolutionary Guard generals
Tehran doctor says death toll much higher than official figure
The son of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has taken control of the militia being used to crush the protest movement, according to a senior Iranian source.
The source, a politician with strong connections to the security apparatus, said that the leading role being played by Mojtaba Khamenei had dismayed many of the country's senior clerics, conservative politicians and Revolutionary Guard generals.
But these conservatives are reluct
The Iranian source also claimed there were splits in another pillar of the Islamic Republic, the Revolutionary Guard. The overall commander, General Ali Jafari, and the Tehran province commander, General Ali Fazli, were opposed to Mojtaba's power grab.
He said the hardline statements issued in the Revolutionary Guard's name, threatening a "decisive confrontation" with protesters, were the work of the political and public relations departments, which are under the direct control of Ahmadinejad, and did not represent a united position. That is a controversial claim. Most analyses have presented the Revolutionary Guard as monolithic and entirely behind the regime.
For revolutionary stalwarts uneasy over the direction of the regime, open rebellion was unthinkable, the politician said. "For them, the red line is the stability of the country," he said. "They will continue softly."
He said this hidden internecine struggle would last a considerable period and the outcome was far from clear. The only certainty was that the Khameneis and Ahmadinejad had not yet won. "They control things on the surface," he said. "But Iranians are not sheep."