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11/16/11

Principlists Respond to Official Threats: With Ahmadinejad in Office, Iran Needs no Other Enemies

By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online

The threats that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies have been making about possessing incriminating documents against public figures and officials have resulted in an angry response from the Principlist, a group that at one time supported the president but since the climax of his differences with supreme leader of Iran earlier this year have broken ranks with him.

The threat of revealing these documents are said to be what changed the votes in the Majlis last week to give a vote of confidence to cabinet minister of economy who was widely believed to be on his way out of office. In a letter addressed to the president, a Principlist Majlis representative writes that with Ahmadinejad around and the kind of language that he uses in his discourse and statements, there is no longer any need for the Islamic to have an enemy.

After Ahmadinejad first threatened to expose some Principlists (his former allies and supporters) and publish incriminating documents against them, Principlists have launched more criticism against him for his remarks.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had threatened recently that he had only spoken about 10 percent of his mind and that he would speak 25 percent of that if he was forced to. On another event, the president had said that he was not in a position to reveal many issues, but that should he be allowed to talk, things would drastically change.

Bahman Akhavan, a Majlis Principlist from Tafresh posted a letter addressed to Ahmadinejad in which he harshly attacks the president and his allies. In the letter, Akhavan accuses Majlis deputies to be “court representatives” (supporting the government) and accuses them of advancing the president’s plan to take over 80 percent of the parliament to support and pursue the administration’s programs and plans. He also compared Ahmadinejad’s threats to disclose documents that incriminate some Principlist to former president Bani-Sadr’s threats (Bani-Sadr was Iran’s first president who was removed from office after ayatollah Khomeini and following that MPs lost confidence in him and impeached him).

This is not the first time that Ahmadinejad is compared to Bani-Sadr. Prior to this Zolnoor, former supreme leader representative at the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) had announced that if Ahmadinejad continued his current behavior and policies, he could face the same fate as Bani Sadr. He qualified his remarks by saying that the regime had for now chosen not to confront Ahmadinejad.

Jaafar Shajooni too had said that Principlists prayed for a quick passage of the remaining two years of Ahmadinejad’s presidency.

The latest attack on Ahmadinejad, this time by Akhavan, accuses him of “oppressing government opponents,” and asks, “Do you think you would have had access to the secret documents that you mention if you had not been in your position? Perhaps you believe that only you posses such documents and that prior presidents were not aware of them. Let me remind you that had you not been president, you would probably not have been allowed beyond the gates of the ministry of intelligence.”

In his letter he also writes that the supreme leader was “not happy with the current situation.”

Ahmadinejad’s allies had earlier claimed that they posses some 140 thousand documents incriminating over 300 officials and public office holders in the Islamic Republic of Iran which would be published when necessary. Till today, such documents have been published against Ahmad Tavakoli and Ali-Reza Zakani, two Principlist MPs who are publicly and vocally critical of Ahmadinejad.

That the presence and threat of such incriminating documents are having an impact on domestic politics is apparent from recent events. A week ago when the Majlis changed its mood and gave a vote of confidence to an unpopular minister of economy, MP Ali Motahari made a reference to such documents and said they are the reason why the move to oust the minister failed in the Majlis. “Just because a person possesses a stack of documents and is also audacious (to use them), does not mean we have to agree to act on his wishes or wait for his term to end,” he said clearly referencing Ahmadinejad’s threats.

In a related news, Mohammad Khoshchechreh, a former Majlis deputy had announced that Ahmadinejad’s allies had recently withdrawn a large number of documents from the Ministry of Intelligence which they intended to use against their political rivals.

It should be noted that some names were removed from the official statement on government embezzlement practices that was planned to be read out on the Majlis floor last week because of government pressure. In response to growing embezzlement charges against the government and administration officials, some pro-government Majlis representatives read out a letter that indicated support for Mahmoudreza Khavari by a group of Majlis representatives, something that is considered embarrassing to the deputies.

In the last few months, as Principlists have increased their criticism of Ahmadinejad, MPs too have joined in the attacks. Ahmad Tavakoli, a Principlist, recently issued a statement rejecting Ahmadinejad’s claims that he had supported him earlier. Iran’s former foreign minister Manoutchehr Mottaki and judiciary spokesperson Gholam-Hossein Ejei too had rejected Ahmadinejad’s public statements.

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