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After Ahmadinejad's Futile Attempt to Remove Moslehi: Protection of Intelligence at the Presidency?

By Arash Motamed, Rooz Online

Two days after the publication of a report that the government was attempting to create a parallel intelligence apparatus at the presidency, the government rejected the claim through a statement claiming the fabrication was meant to harm the administration.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi 
Supreme Leader stopped Ahmadinejad (R) from firing Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi

The denial was published on the government’s website which denied the claim in very strong terms and accused the source of the news of spreading lies and destroying the administration.

Mashreq website initially published a news story on this on Monday, and wrote that the plan was launched by the deviant group. Deviant course or group is a term used by the Iranian regime for those in the presidential office and elsewhere fully supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mashreq is a website run by a group that claims to be principlist, meaning that it is dedicated to the original ideals of the 1979 revolution. It wrote that the deviant group planned to present a senior administration official from one of the “sensitive” government ministries simply named “S” to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to head a new deputy for safeguarding intelligence at the presidency. According to this news report “S” had been removed from his post and arrested earlier because of professional violations but had been released from prison on bail.

But despite this report, the administration presented this news as peripheral and with the purpose of distracting public opinion, adding, “the publication of at a time when the government was putting all its energy to serving the people and developing the country has no other purpose than to create a peripheral track against the efforts of the government and distract public opinion from the main issues of the country.”

The government’s denial of this news report comes after Ahmadinejad tried hard to purge the ministry of intelligence earlier in March, which resulted in a direct response from supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei who reinstated the minister of intelligence fired by Ahmadinejad. At the time some unofficial sources had named Abbas Amirifar had been nominated by Rahim Mashai from the president’s office to Ahmadinejad for taking over the ministry of intelligence as a replacement for intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi. The dispute over the minster of intelligence between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei resulted in the president’s protest in the form of absence from cabinet meetings for two weeks. Subsequent in-fighting between the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and Ahmadinejad resulted in the arrest of Abbas Amirifar, who at the time was the head of the cultural council at the presidency. Other close associates of the president were pursued by the IRGC and some were arrested.

Baker Online website had reported three months ago that “In cooperation with a security/economic group run by Hossein Taeb, Heidar Moslehi had been striving to remove some of the long-time assistants at the ministry of intelligence.” Among such assistants was Hossein Abdollahi, the deputy for planning and budget office at the ministry of intelligence, a close associate of Rahim Mashai, who had been fired by the minister which resulted in Ahmadinejad’s anger followed by the firing order for the minister himself.

Earlier this year, ayatollah Abdollahi Namazi, the representative of the supreme leader and the Friday prayer leader of Kashan had spoken of IRGC’s intent to arrest Mashai and had said, “General Jaafari, the IRGC supreme commander had asked the supreme leader for permission to arrest him (Mashai) to end this affair, which would follow by some complaints but then would be over.”

According to him, ayatollah Khamenei did not approve of this but had given the green light for the arrest of other “operational forces” close to the government.

Political observers believe that the failure of Ahmadinejad’s team to take possession of the ministry of intelligence and the assault by the intelligence apparatus parallel to the IRGC’s on the “deviant group” was most likely the reason why the government embarked on an effort to created its own intelligence agency.

Eight Majlis member Ismail Kowsari has said that the main reason ayatollah Khamenei was against changing the minister of intelligence was because of Ahmadinejad’s intent to become the caretaker of the ministry of intelligence. Kowsari claims that had Ahmadinejad not presented himself to take over and run the ministry of intelligence, Khamenei would have probably not objected to Moslehi’s removal.

It should be noted that many military and security agencies in the Islamic republic have embarked on creating their own intelligence agencies.

The IRGC Intelligence Agency is one of them, which is also among the most powerful and the longest serving. In 2009, the IRGC deputy for intelligence was changed to the IRGC Intelligence Agency and Taeb was appointed as its first director. Taeb had been the head of the Basij para-military force operating under the IRGC. He is currently the representative of the supreme leader at the IRGC.

... Payvand News - 08/24/11 ... --

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