Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not attend an OPEC summit next month, noteworthy only because it's being read as a signal that he's losing his power struggle with the nation's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, reports the New York Times. Ahmadinejad had announced earlier this month that he would go to the OPEC summit as acting oil minister and push for higher prices. Khomeini apparently put the kibosh on that.
"The leader has drawn a bright red line around Ahmadinejad’s continued power grabs,” says a former State Department official. He "has been severely weakened.” Religious leaders may be angling to push Ahmadinejad out of next year's presidential race in favor of a candidate who's not quite so independent, notes the Times, which also picks up on a "mysterious explosion" that rocked an oil refinery yesterday just before Ahmadinejad arrived to speak. Click to read one bizarre theory on what's behind the political feud. (Read more Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stories.)