Reactions & Comments on attack on Iran President Ahmadinejad


Instant View: Comments on attack on Iran’s Ahmadinejad | Reuters

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad survived an attack with a homemade explosive device on his motorcade during a visit to a provincial city on Wednesday, a source in his office said. Here are some comments on the attack:

BAQER MOIN, LONDON-BASED IRAN EXPERT

“Hamadan is a stable area without ethnic or local tension… Let’s wait and see who they accuse, an internal or an external enemy.”

SHAHIN GOBADI, SPOKESMAN FOR OPPOSITION NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE OF IRAN, BASED IN FRANCE

Asked if his group was behind the attack, he said: “Absolutely not, absolutely not. It has nothing to do with us. I don’t know what happened. It has nothing to do with us.”

PAUL HARRIS, HEAD OF NATURAL RESOURCES RISK MANAGEMENT AT BANK OF IRELAND

“I expect that any backlash there might be from Ahmadinejad will be far more important to the oil market than the initial attack itself. You would expect the oil market to react if there is any attempt to link the attack to the current tensions with the West and the ramping up of sanctions. Prices haven’t moved today but we’ve just had a very strong rally. Geopolitical risk from the Middle East is broadly priced in, especially following yesterday’s incident on the Israel-Lebanon border.”

IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT MIDDLE EAST ANALYST GALA RIANI

“It wouldn’t be surprising if the president’s office tries to play this down. It’s very difficult to say who could be behind it. There are assorted militant groups operating in Iran. The opposition hasn’t gone away since the election although they are very limited in what they can do. They are not one coherent movement so it’s not impossible that some members could have taken it upon themselves to do something like this. We could watch to see what opposition leaders say, particularly if it becomes clear that this is a big deal — whether they distance themselves. Ahmadinejad has taken himself out of Tehran into the provinces to speak to people more than any other president. We will have to see whether this is serious enough that he cuts back doing that. There have been occasions when people have thrown things at him or heckled him but that has been it.”  
MEHRDAD KHONSARI, LONDON-BASED IRANIAN OPPOSITION ACTIVIST

“Ahmadinejad has been expecting this sort of thing. He said earlier that there were plots to assassinate him by foreign adversaries such as Israel and the United States. He made reference to that, but of course no reference to the dissatisfied people of Iran. Talking about these things or even trying to act in a manner that Ahmadinejad has in raising the alarm is quite different than something like this actually taking place. It is obviously a reflection of the fact that all is not well in Iran and control is not total, contrary to conventional wisdom.”

METSA RAHIMI, ANALYST, JANUSIAN

“I think it’s quite likely we will never know exactly what happened. So far, they seem to be trying to play it down and there is the story it was a firecracker thrown from the crowd. If it is more serious, they may well put the blame on Israel and the West, although I think they are both very unlikely. Overall, I don’t think it will have too much effect on relations with the West over sanctions. If it was an attack and not a firecracker, it could well have been a lone opposition supporter but unlikely to have been an organized effort by opposition officials to kill the president.”

MARIE BOS, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST, CONTROL RISKS

“Although this incident is significant in itself, it should not destabilize Iran. Our belief is it is most likely a local group rather than anything with international connections. It is most likely either a Kurdish group which has clashed with security forces in the northwest of the country recently, or tied to local grievances linked to poor economic circumstances. On the occasion of Ahmadinejad’s last visit to this part of the country, protesters interrupted his speech, chanting slogans.”

THEODORE KARASIK, SECURITY ANALYST AT DUBAI-BASED INEGMA GROUP

“It has to do with growing discontent with his rule, that now the conservatives are turning on him because of the economy and the position Iran is in because of the fourth wave of sanctions. This happened in a provincial area where he’s supposed to be more popular. If he gets people riled up there, then that’s not good. It could also be tied to what’s happening in Iraq. This could be a signal to stay out of Iraq as the Americans withdraw. It’s just speculation, but another possible angle.”

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