Iran's election woes continue

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Anchor Katy Clark gets the latest developments on the fallout from Iran's presidential election from Los Angeles Times correspondent Borzou Daragahi. Some of the country's religious leaders are warning President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad that he could be deposed. Meanwhile opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, is calling on his supporters to continue to protest the election results.

KATY CLARK: Even if the United States is not protecting camp Ashraf with its military, US secretary estate Hilary Clinton offered some diplomatic support for its residents today. She said that the fate of camp Ashraf was for the Iraqi government to resolve. But she added that the United States expects Iraq to quote, "Fulfill its obligations and not forcibly transfer camp residents to a country where they might be mistreated." The fallout from Iran's controversial presidential election last month is continuing. Some of Iran's religious leaders are warning President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that he could be deposed. And the man who lost to Ahmadinejad, Mir Hussein Moussavi, is calling on his supporters to continue to protest the election results. It's the first time in several weeks that Moussavi has spoken out. Joining us to tie these two developments together is Borzou Daragahi of the Los Angeles Times. He's following the Iran story from Lebanon. And let's start with the clerical opposition to Ahmadenajad. What are they upset about?

BORZOU DARAGAHI: Well, the clergy have always had somewhat of a problem with Ahmadinejad. He's like the equivalent of an Evangelical, and he has these messianic beliefs, even though he's not a cleric, and he is not a member of the clergy. He often talks about religion in a way that the clerics don't like. But what has happened recently, was that there's been this huge fight over his decision to appoint a controversial friend of his, a relative who's name is Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie as his first vice president. That means he's first in line to succeed him. And this stirred opposition by many religious groups, many people just don't like this guy, there's various reasons. And despite an order from the supreme leader, he refused for one week to fire this guy until finally the supreme leader published on his own website a copy of the hand written note that he had written to Ahmadinejad, telling him to dump this guy. And at that point he acquits and let the guy go, but it created a lot of ill will. There's also the issue of Ahmadinejad's decision to push to fire several of his ministers, ultimately he only fired one because he suddenly realized that firing more than one would create a constitutional crisis. Many saw this as a vindictive move that didn't seem in keeping with someone who should be a rational head of state.

KATY CLARK: Just wonder, for those of us who aren't following the story as closely as you are, if this recent election in Iran was indeed rigged, now if the clerical establishment, and others are trying to appose Ahmadinejad's continuation as president of Iran. I mean, is that counter productive to their efforts?

BORZOU DARAGAHI: I would say that Iran's political camps are in a process of transforming, whereas it used to be a battle between the reformists and the conservatives. Now it's more and more a battle between pragmatists and radicals. And what's happening is, you have a coalescing of the conservative camp, and the reformist camp against people like Ahmadinejad, who are considered radicals. And so you've got these, I think, three forces, to put it as simply as possible, jostling for power, and trying to figure out to avoid a real escalation of this situation, and a possible collapse of the Islamic republic.

KATY CLARK: Is Mir Hussein Moussavi's appeal to his supporters to continue protesting the election results coincidental, or is it calculated?

BORZOU DARAGAHI: We believe that it's calculated. We believe that the opposition has gotten its act together in certain respects, they now have a kind of coordinated media strategy that includes people abroad who seem to get an upload immediately, immature video tapes of demonstrations and speeches. We believe this call for more marches is an attempt to put more pressure on the hard liners in the establishment.

KATY CLARK: I wonder if opposition from the clerics and Moussavi could be enough to topple Ahmadinejad? I mean, could they prevent him from being sworn in for a second term as Iran's president?

BORZOU DARAGAHI: It's not just the clerics, it's a lot of hard line politicians, and conservatives, different factions in the political establishment. They were quiet for some time because they thought that the system was at risk. Now it seems that those people have decided that the protest movement is somewhat under control, it seems to have a legitimate leadership, and that the greater danger at this time is Ahmadinejad and the click that surround him. And so, now they are really beating up on Ahmadinejad, and weakening him. Even if he is inaugurated, which is very, very, very possible. Even if he does become the next president, he's gonna be very weak and wounded, and it's going to be conservatives as well as reformists who are gonna hem him in on domestic and foreign policy.

KATY CLARK: Los Angeles Times reporter, Borzou Daragahi, nice to speak with you Borzou.

BORZOU DARAGAHI: Always a pleasure.