By Hossein Mohammadi, Rooz Online
As a group of Principlists (ideologues defending the ideals of the 1979 revolution in Iran who split up last year into those that support ayatollah Khamenei and those that support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) intensify their criticism of Ahmadinejad, the president’s allies respond in harsher language to such remarks to the point where one of them even said that the writings of supreme leader’s representative at Kayhan news group Hossein Shariatmadari, amounted to “garbage” in its criticism of the administration. Such direct attack on a person directly appointed by the supreme leader is rare in the Islamic republic.
Hossein Shariatmadari, Supreme Leader’s representative at Kayhan news group
In recent weeks, as the second phase of the government’s subsidies program has been announced, prices have also risen sharply. Defending his program, Ahmadinejad had said that the second phase of the plan would continue as before, something that was immediately attacked by opposing Principlists by a letter that Majlis speaker Larijani sent to the supreme leader on the subject. He called the president’s measure to be a violation of the express law.
At the same time, Alef website - belonging to influential conservative former lawmaker who heads the Majlis Research Center - wrote that in addition to Larijani, Iran’s top inspectorate agency had also written to the supreme leader about the subsidy program. “We have prepared many reports, particularly regarding the subsidies and one of the places that has received them is the office of the supreme leader,” he said.
Opposition to the implementation of the second phase of the subsidies has gained momentum. The head of the special council set up to resolve differences between the heads of the three branches of government, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroodi, also joined this criticism. Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the influential Qom Seminary Teachers Association had also written a letter to Ahmadinejad warning the president of the increase in prices because of the plan and added that “senior ayatollahs - marjae taghlid - had expressed their concerns about the rising prices of daily products.”
Ahmadinejad has rejected this criticism and said that the price increases had nothing to do with his subsidies programs.
The Central Bank of Iran also published a report that pinned the price hikes to the administration’s subsidies program, adding that it resulted in a decrease in people’s welfare, a wider income gap and ultimately rendering the cash awards of the program ineffective.
In recent weeks, the representatives of the supreme leader in various towns across Iran have also publicly criticized the government for the price hikes calling on the administration to address the calls of the public.
Ahmadinejad’s allies have responded to this criticism with their own attacks on government officials and opposing Principlists. One site attached supreme leader appoint Shariatmadari at Kayhan while a website called the Larijani brothers, who hold key positions in the Islamic republic, the “Three Musketeers” whom it called to be in a race to outdo each other in discrediting the administration.
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