Two Iranian MPs say the Ministry of Intelligence opposes the appointment of Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as deputy foreign minister.
Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh
The Fars news agency reports that MPs Ahmad Tavakoli and Parviz Sarvari said the Intelligence Ministry has written a letter expressing its opposition to the new appointment; however, the ministry has not yet confirmed this.
Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh's appointment to the position of financial deputy of the Foreign Ministry was challenged by several conservative MPs, who accuse him of being under legal investigation.
While many sources have indicated that Malekzadeh's appointment came by direct order of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the MPs have called for the impeachment of the foreign minister.
In the latest development of the disputes, Malehzadeh finally handed in his resignation on Tuesday which was immediately accepted by the foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Malekzadeh was formerly part of the administration of the High Council of Iranian Affairs Abroad, a government entity that was headed by the president's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai. The conservative elite accuses Mashai of leading a "deviant current" aimed at destabilizing the regime.
They also charge Malekzadeh with being part of this so-called "deviant current" and allege that he could face fraud charges.
Malekzadeh denies all accusations and so far has not been dismissed by the foreign minister.
The disputes reveal the diminishing power of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his close circle of supporters in the Islamic Republic establishment.
Conservative MP Ahmad Tavakoli said on a live show on state radio that all the people around Ahmadinejad are either "corrupt or deviant or both."
The Iranian Parliament stops the impeachment of Foreign Minister Akbar Salehi after resignation of Ahmadinejad ally from the foreign ministry.
Ali Akbar Salehi
The Khaneh Mellat parliamentary news website reported on Wednesday that the MPs who had signed the impeachment order have withdrawn their request and informed the president.
In today's parliamentary session, a letter was introduced from 30 signatories to the plan to impeach Ali Akbar Salehi, saying they have withdrawn their support for such efforts.
Salehi's impeachment request had been submitted to Parliament with 39 signatures, after he appointed Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh as deputy foreign minister.
A minimum of 10 signatures is required to initiate the impeachment of a minister, and today's action brought the number down to at least nine.
The MPs' efforts to impeach the foreign minister were based on their claims that newly appointed deputy Malekzadeh was of questionable character and under investigation for financial crimes.
Although Malekzadeh, an ally of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, denied all charges, yesterday the administration bowed to the will of the conservative elite and announced the resignation of the new deputy foreign minister.
Ahmadinejad has been targeted by the Islamic Republic establishment for his relationship with his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who is accused of leading a "deviant current" in the government. Any move by the president and his cabinet deemed to have been initiated by his chief of staff has been challenged by Parliament and senior conservative political figures.
The disputes have intensified with the approach of the next parliamentary elections in March 2012, because the establishment is wary of the government's potential to influence the makeup of the new Parliament.
Today, even as parliamentarians withdrew the plan to impeach Ahmadinejad's foreign minister, a separate plan to impeach the minister of the interior was introduced in the house for review.
According to the letter demanding the impeachment, numerous dismissals and appointments at the provincial administration levels have been taking place without proper supervision by the ministry.
Shiraz representative Jafar Ghaderi, who signed the initiative, said: "Twenty prefects and 10 governors have been dismissed from their posts in Fars Province without the coordination of the Ministry of Interior." He said a similar lack of proper supervision by the ministry has been seen in other provinces.
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