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Iran’s mullahs divided

As President Ahmadinejad takes office, his victory has created a new deep and significant schism between Iran's powerful Mullahs

Shia Muslims believe that the reappearance of the twelfth imam, who vanished in the ninth century, will herald an era of peace and justice. But nowhere do Islamic texts explain clearly how people should rule themselves in the meantime. Instead, Iran’s 1979 revolution conferred temporal power on the religious scholar who best combined qualities of theological learning and political acumen—the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The resulting arrangement, known as the “guardianship of the jurist,” has always been contentious. Now, as the dust settles on Iran’s worst unrest in a quarter of a century, a long-dormant dispute over the system shows…

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