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Iran: Controversy over remarks of embattled chief of staff continues

Source: Mehr News Agency

Opposition is continuing unabated against Esfandiyar Rahim Mashaei for his controversial remarks about Islamic and Iranian ideology. On Wednesday, President Ahmadinejad threw his weight behind Rahim Mashaei despite a widespread backlash from principalists.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right) with his aide 
Esfandiar RahimMashaei
Ahmadinejad backs VP Mashaei over Islam remarks, says confides him

Mashaei's controversial remarks have caused uproar among political and religious figures.

On Saturday Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said, "That the president's aide make unbalanced remarks which cause tensions every day is not to the benefit of the society."

"If for any reasons the president could not dismiss Mashaei, at least advise him to remain quiet," Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi added.

Ayatollah Morteza Moqtadaei, the director of Qom seminary, also described Mashaei's remarks about Islam as "beyond his professional jurisdiction"

"Unfortunately such remarks are coming out the mouth of those who are closet to the president and regretfully... when many high-profile figures and the public have expressed their dissatisfaction over such remarks, nobody has seriously dealt with Mashaei," Ayatollah Moqtadaei lamented.

MP Ali Motahari also criticized Ahmadinejad for trying to justify the remarks by Mashaei.

Mashaei, who is widely regarded as the closest aide to the president, said on August 4 in a gathering of Iranian expatriates that "The country should introduce the ideology of Iran rather than Islam to the world."

To add insult to injury, he said on August 9 that "without Iran, Islam would be lost," and that if "we want to present the truth of Islam to the world, we should erect the Iranian flag," according to the Mehr News Agency.

"Countries are scared of Iran, because the truth of Islam is here," the aide said.

Following those remarks the Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, described Mashaei's remarks as a "crime against national security."

Disregard for law

Motahari also said the president's disregard for parliamentary decisions would pave the ground for returning to "dictatorship".

Motahari urged the parliament not to remain silent in the face of president's remarks towards Majlis approvals.

The parliament's reticence toward president's refusal to implement parliamentary laws, would be considered a historical mistake, said Motahari, a member of the Majlis majority faction.

... Payvand News - 08/14/10 ... --

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