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‘He Who Got Slapped’

Samara Greenberg

According to a Wikileaked cable, headlined “He Who Got Slapped,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was slapped in the face by a military commander last January during a Supreme National Security Council meeting.

The incident, as relayed to an American diplomat in Azerbaijan by a local and previously accurate source, allegedly took place during a discussion about how to respond to the pro-democracy street protests following Iran’s contentious 2009 presidential election. According to the source, Ahmadinejad said the Iranian people feel “suffocated” and proposed relaxing restrictions on the media. “You are wrong!,” yelled Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari. “(In fact) it is YOU who created this mess! And now you say give more freedom to the press?!” Then Jafari allegedly slapped Ahmadinejad in the face.

Of course, Tehran has denied the claim. However, if true, the cable would confirm the suspicion that in Iran, the Revolutionary Guards Corps is gaining momentous power, and rather than the president or the Shi’ite clergy, the military may really be the driving force behind Tehran’s belligerence.