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Tehran's new mayor signed into office

The Iranian Interior Ministry on Tuesday signed Tehran's newly-elected Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad into office, putting an end to speculation that the ministry was dragging its feet on the signing since it was displeased with the appointment, IRNA reported.

The writ for the mayorship was issued by Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi Lari, ministry spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani told IRNA here Tuesday.

"Given Tehran City Council's proposal, according to this writ, you are appointed as the mayor of Tehran for four years," Lari said in his letter to Ahmadi-Nejad.

The interior minister asked the new mayor to "seriously try to carefully drive ahead the government's policies on coordination among local officials and implementation of financial discipline".

He also urged the new mayor to make "optimal use of all moral and material means in protecting public property, improving the citizens' welfare and removing deprivations as well as continuing the megacity's construction and prevent from any illegal move in serving the people".

Ahmadi-Nejad was elected as the mayor of 12-million-strong megapolis two weeks ago by the Tehran City Council (TCC), pending the Interior Ministry's approval to assume office.

Sections of the press had been speculating that the Interior Ministry was intentionally refusing to sign the new mayor into office because of the latter's political leaning.

Ahmadi-Nejad already served as the governor-general of the northwestern Ardebil province. He teaches at the Science and Technology (Elm-o San'at) University of Tehran.

Tehran Municipality, under its former mayors, was involved in a series of bitter wrangling with the TCC which led to the council's dissolution in January on Lari's order and replacement of the last mayor.

A progressive Tehran mayor, Gholam-Hossein Karbaschi, was stripped of his power once after being indicted on graft charges, which landed him in jail.

His release came with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's pardon after former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reportedly intervened.

Municipal elections, envisaged in the 1979 Islamic Constitution, were first held in 1999 on the back of President Mohammad Khatami's campaign to promote democracy and build a civil society in Iran.

... Payvand News - 5/21/03 ... --

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