The former favourite of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has openly criticised the Regime for its suppression of basic freedoms and corrupt “justice” system and he has gained a lot of supporters, but make no mistake, this is all to benefit himself.

Rigged electoral process

Ahmadinejad has openly declared that the election process in Iran is rigged, with the Guardian Council effectively choosing the President.

This is true; the elections are rigged to provide a President that the Supreme Leader – who appoints the Guardian Council – will approve of, but Ahmadinejad only brought this up following his rejection by the Guardian Council in the past two elections.

Notably, it wasn’t something he brought up when he took the Presidency in 2005.

Justice System

Ahmadinejad’s attacks on the Regime’s so-called justice system for its lack of due process and the prosecutor’s propensity to charge people with crimes based on how loyal they are the Regime.

These are accurate complaints about a justice system, which is set up to protect the mullahs and not the people, but it is suspicious that Ahmadinejad would start bringing it up as corruption charges against him were being brought and his allies began to be prosecuted for corruption.

When two of Ahmadinejad’s closest aides, Mashai and Hamid Reza Baqai, were jailed, the former president no doubt felt the noose tighten and decided to strike out against the Regime with a letter to Khamenei criticising his leadership.

The letter was signed by around 800 people, mostly figures that served under Ahmadinejad between 2005 and 2013.

This shows that Ahmadinejad has support, but it also shows that this is not about a legitimate opposition to the Regime. It’s factional infighting, spurred on by the fact that Khamenei is terminally ill and the mullahs want to put themselves in the best place to succeed him.

The letter is telling in that it tells Khamenei that his “regime is becoming increasingly lifeless and fragile and needs fundamental reforms” and bemoans the “unsatisfactory situation of justice, freedom, democracy and independence in the country”.

Still, Ahmadinejad is part of the Regime. He doesn’t wish for reform, only for control.

The Regime is currently very unsteady, rocked by a failing economy, massive infighting, and a protesting populace. No Western government should help to prop up this Regime if they wish to see peace in the Middle East or democracy in Iran. That will only come when the Regime is overthrown and the people take over.