(Sorry for a response in a new post form, but this is a little too lengthy for the comment section. This is a continuing response to comments posted on my original post of Defense Statecraft: Walking that fine line of deterrence, for those interested)
Let me first say that I stand corrected on stating that Ahmadinejad is recognized as the head of the Iranian state. You are correct in stating that it is in fact Khamenei who represents the head of state of
I will say that I have read the Iranian constitution from 1979 and its subsequent expansion in 1989 – which expanded the presidential powers as I am sure you know - and I agree that many more should read it so as to allow for a better understanding of the functioning of the Iranian government but also the Iranian culture. But enough of this agreeing; let us get to the more entertaining subject of how you are wrong.
First, let me point out that your opening paragraph has switched the sides of deterrence inappropriately. You state that “this means they are trying to deter an individual and his agenda rather than deterring an ideological foundation and a whole system of government, which is considerably harder.” This is incorrect. The
Second, while I agree that Ahmadinejad is under Kham in the structure of the state, the Iranian constitution under the Executive Branch section states that the executive branch is is of the utmost importance to the "implementing of laws and ordinances of Islam for the sake of establishing the rule of just relations over society, and considering, too, its vital role in paving the way for the attainment of the ultimate goal of life, the executive power must work toward the creation of an Islamic society." This places a large burden and importance on the executive branch of which the Ahmadinejad is the topmost figure.
Later on in the constitution under Article 60 you find the support to my previous statement as it states,“The functions of the executive, except in the matters that are directly placed under the jurisdiction of the Leadership by the Constitution, are to be exercised by the President and the Ministers.” This confirms my previous statement on the functioning of the executive branch.
Lastly, you will find under Article 176 the following: “In order to safeguarding the national interests and preserving the Islamic Revolution, the territorial integrity, and the national sovereignty, a Supreme Council for National Security
All of these articles support the fact that Ahmadinejad is a creadible leader of the Iranian state and his statements and actions must be taken seriously regardless of whether or not he is the absolute head of the state, especially in acts of war/defense. It is not that I am applying a western view of the world incorrectly as you stated, but simply that Ahmadinejad is a leader of the Iranian state and his views reflect the state itself even if he isn’t the Supreme Leader. Furthermore, in a speech given on March 21st of this year Khamenei stated that, “"