The crisis between Ahmadinejad supporters and the regime leadership in Tehran is expanding by the day. The arrest of Ahmadinejad’s four close allies and his absence at a meeting that ayatollah Khamenei had with visiting Afghan President Karzai last week may be more signs of the return of the domestic crises and the concluding phase of the confrontation
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (left) and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, at a cabinet meeting. Some of the president's critics have called Mashaei the "actual president."
It is in this light that the recent comments of Mashhad’s Friday prayer leader, Ahmad Elm-alHoda should be viewed. In his public sermon, alHoda said that dealing with the “deviant movement” was guided by the leader of the Islamic republic.
In his talk, alHoda said that while the leader of the Islamic republic had in the past supported the deviant movement, he stressed, “The deviation caused the leader to directly intervene and challenge the management: his virtuous character calls him to warn whenever a deviation is observed.”
AlHoda’s comments come after another Friday prayer leader, Abdolnabi Namazi from Kashan made a similar comment when he said that the arrest of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei’s associates had been carried out on the direct orders of ayatollah Khamenei, an assertion that was disclaimed by the office of the supreme leader, which in turn seems to have displeased the Kashan Friday prayer leader.
As these verbal battles continued, a fourth close associate of Ahmadinejad was arrested. As reported by news agencies, Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, the secretary of the Supreme Council on Iranians Abroad, the managing director of Arvand Free Zone Ali-Asqar Parhizkar, the managing director of Aras Free Zone Ali-Reza Moghimi and a senior deputy at the Ministry of Industries Afshin Roghani, all close associates of the president, were arrested separately last week.
The charges for their arrests have initially all been financial. But prior to their arrest, Majlis deputy Ahad Kheyri who also heads the investigative team on free trade zones announced that Parhizkar and Moghimi had been arrested because of issues that had been “raised earlier” which related to their activities in the Cultural Heritage Organization. He added that Ali-Reza Moghimi was arrested the previous week.
Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh had been introduced as Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi’s deputy who resigned on pressure and threats from Majlis deputies. A member of Article 90 of the Constitution Committee in the Majlis had said earlier that his committee had received numerous reports of violations related to him.
Jahan News, which is closely affiliated to Ali-Reza Zakani, announced that Parhizkar “had long ties with key leaders of the deviant group and who was a longtime friend of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei from his days at Tehran Radio. He had become the managing director of Arvand Free Zone through the machinations of Baghai.”
These arrests come as some news sites had written that the leadership of the regime had decided to keep Ahmadinejad in his post as much as possible. But at the same time, it would not be sympathetic and tolerant of the president’s violations and no privileges would be extended to the deviant group regarding their presence inside the regime or the upcoming Majlis elections. “The regime has no doubts and it is Mr. Ahmadinejad who must decide on his fate and rather than prompting the leadership to ponder - as he had claimed - should be pondering himself,” is how some of the media worded the issue.
Absence From the Leader’s Meeting
Following the arrest of these senior officials, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refrained from appearing at visiting Afghan President Hamed Karzai’s meeting with ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran. This resulted in a verbal response from the principlist media who termed the absence as “strange.”
Earlier, Majlis Deputy Parviz Soruri had said that he did not believe that Ahmadinejad had become silent and quiet. “While being verbally silent, he is actively erupting,” he said. “He speaks with his actions and through this he declared his position. In a sense his position cannot be declared, it can only be demonstrated,” he said.
Aftab news agency asked whether Ahmadinejad was on his way to repeat his earlier disengagement and stay at home, a reference to the time when the president did not attend cabinet meetings because of ayatollah Khamenei’s direct intervention and challenge over the minister of intelligence’s dismissal.
Mistake in Voting for Ahmadinejad
In important related news, some principlists have openly said that voting for his
second presidency was a mistake. Mohammad Mohajeri, a former member of Kayhan newspaper’s editorial board and the current editor of Khabar Online said, ‘The sky will not fall if we accept that Mr. Ahmadinejad was a political mistake, and the only thing that will happen is that principlist will demonstrate their courage in accepting a mistake.”
And as the battle between the factions inside the Iranian regime continues, the view from the outside is not a pretty one and time should clarify the impact of this on other and more important events and issues.
... Payvand News - 03/25/16 ... --