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Ahmadinejad Cancels Meeting of Branch Heads In Protest to the Majlis Azad University Bill

By Mohammad Reza Yazdanpanah, Rooz Online

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad administration's confrontation with Azad University officials and backers reached a new level yesterday, casting a shadow on the prescheduled meeting of the heads of the three branches of the Iranian regime. One day after a Tehran court ruled in favor of Azad University and on the day that the eighth Majlis passed a bill authorizing amendments to the institutions bylaws only if recommended by its founders, Ahmadinejad cancelled his prescheduled meeting with the Larijani brothers in protest.

Fars new agency quoted an advisor to Ali Larijani yesterday who confirmed the postponement of the meeting.

Rafsanjani: Certain officials try to hinder Islamic Azad University's progress

Speaking to reporters, Hassan Zamani, the advisor to the speaker of the Majlis said that the meeting of the heads of the three branches of government had been postponed to a later date. And although he did not disclose the reason behind the postponement, an informed source told Rooz that the meeting was postponed because of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's extreme dissatisfaction with the way the Larijani brothers - one heading the judiciary and the other the legislative branches - have been doing business.

This informed source told Rooz that Ahmadinejad has refused to attend a meeting with Ali and Sadegh Larijani in protest to the Tehran court's ruling and the passage of the Majlis bill.

On Saturday, a Tehran court ruled to temporarily enjoin the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution from amending the Islamic Azad University's bylaws. The ruling was issued at the request of Azad University board of founders.

Political analysts hailed the ruling as a major victory for university's officials in their struggle against Ahmadinejad's administration, which has attempted tirelessly in the past five years to wrestle control of the institution out of the hands of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Only one day after the court ruling, Majlis representatives passed a bill to clarify the procedure for amending the bylaws of non-government universities and centers of higher education, which include Azad University. According to the new bill, only the founders of the academic institutions had the authority to propose amendments to the bylaws before such amendments could be finalized by the Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution.

Protests at Azad University in Qazvin in December 2009. Banner says: "University Is Alive"
Azad Universities are a stronghold of the opposition movement

Rafsanjani, seyed Ali Khamenei, Abdolkarim Mousavi Ardebili, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Abdollah Jasbi and seyed Ahmad Khomeini are the first founders and board of trustees of the Azad University, which was established in 1982 at the initiation of Rafsanjani and with the approval of the late ayatollah Khomeini.

The founders' board and the board of trustees retained its original composition after Ahmad Khomeini passed away and Seyed Ali Khamenei was selected supreme leader until the summer of 2007, when Ali Akbar Velayati, Hassan Habibi, Mohsen Ghomi, Hamid Moridzadeh and seyed Hassan Khomeini joined the board of trustees (but not the board of founders of the school).

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