Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tells Iranian President Ahmadinejad: “Reinstate intelligence chief or resign” . Ahmadinejad’s top aides arrested for being ‘magicians’ and invoking spirits…cites undue influence of Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff.


Saeed Kamali Dehghan

guardian.co.uk

Thursday 5 May

 
 
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, who is described as ‘the actual president of Iran’ by allies of the country’s supreme leader.

Close allies of Iran‘s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

The arrests come amid a growing rift between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei which has prompted several MPs to call for the president to be impeached.

On Sunday, Ahmadinejad returned to his office after an 11-day walkout in an apparent protest over Khamenei’s reinstatement of the intelligence minister, who the president had initiallyasked to resign.

Ahmadinejad’s unprecedented disobedience prompted harsh criticism from conservatives who warned that he might face the fate of Abdulhassan Banisadr, Iran’s first post-revolution president who was impeached and exiled for allegedly attempting to undermine clerical power.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, a hardline cleric close to Khamenei, warned that disobeying the supreme leader – who has the ultimate power in Iran – is equivalent to “apostasy from God”.

Ahmadinejad has so far declined to officially back Khamenei’s ruling over Heydar Moslehi, the minister at the centre of the row. In the first cabinet meeting since the president returned, Moslehi was absent.

Khamenei’s supporters believe that the top-level confrontation stems from the increasing influence of Mashaei, an opponent of greater involvement of clerics in politics, who is being groomed by Ahmadinejad as a possible successor.

But the feud has taken a metaphysical turn following the release of an Iranian documentary alleging the imminent return of the Hidden Imam Mahdi – the revered saviour of Shia Islam, whose reappearance is anticipated by believers in a manner comparable to that with which Christian fundamentalists anticipate the second coming of Jesus.

Conservative clerics, who say that the Mahdi’s return cannot be predicted, have accused a “deviant current” within the president’s inner circle, including Mashaei, of being responsible for the film.

Ahmadinejad’s obsession with the hidden imam is well known. He often refers to him in his speeches and in 2009 said that he had documentary evidence that the US was trying to prevent Mahdi’s return.

Since Ahmadinejad’s return this week, at least 25 people, who are believed to be close to Mashaei, have been arrested. Among them is Abbas Amirifar, head of the government’s cultural committee and some journalists of Mashaei’s recently launched newspaper, Haft-e-Sobh.

On Saturday, Mojtaba Zolnour, Khamenei’s deputy representative in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, said: “Today Mashaei is the actual president. Mr Ahmadinejad has held on to a decaying rope by relying on Mashaei.”

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 06.05.11

By DPA

 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an ultimatum over the reinstatement of the country’s intelligence chief, a local website reported Friday.

Khamenei, who, according to the constitution, has the final say on all state affairs, vetoed Ahmadinejad’s decision last month to dismiss Heydar Moslehi.

The website Ayandeh quoted presidential advisor, Morteza Aqa-Tehrani, saying that in a meeting this week between Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, the ayatollah has pushed the president to either accept Moslehi or resign.

Ahmadinejad has not yet responded with a final decision on the supreme leader’s ultimatum, Agha-Tehrani added.

The Ayandeh report is yet to be confirmed by official or local media.

Khamenei firmly supported Ahmadinejad following his 2009 re-election, a vote that was overshadowed by allegations of election fraud.

Local media has speculated that the dispute between the supreme leader and the president runs deeper than the disagreement over the dismissal of the intelligence chief.

Some have speculated that the main issue that president and religious leader have butted heads about is Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei.

Mashaei is said to oppose the clergy-dominated framework of the Islamic republic’s establishment, preferring a more nationalistic approach in running the country.

Ahmadinejad has thrown firm support behind Mashaei, causing clergy circles to accuse the president of trying to undermine the Islamic character and principles of the country’s ruling system.

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