June 3, 3013
Twelve days before Iran’s presidential election, stubborn rumors were making the rounds that two “accidents” which took place Sunday, June 2, were in fact attempts on the lives of outgoing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a leading presidential hopeful, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. Both escaped unhurt.
The rumors pointed the finger of suspicion at supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or his underlings possibly acting on their own.
The ayatollah’s insiders are said to fear Ahmadinejad is plotting an emergency for bringing the masses out on the streets in order to force the postponement of the June 14 election. He would then stay on as president until the dust settled.
In the overheated, pre-election atmosphere in Tehran, government circles are extra jittery over the apparently irrepressible wave of Turkish popular dissent against the Islamist government of Tayyip Erdogan. They are concerned lest the tumult spill over into Iran and target the ayatollah’s authority.
Ahmadinejad and a large party of officials were on the way Sunday to inaugurating Iran’s longest tunnel under the Alborz Mountains the northeaster province of Mazandaran, when their helicopter went into a tail spin. The pilot made a safe emergency landing.