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Iranian clergy denounce airing of top-level political dispute


Source: Radio Zamaneh

Senior members of the Iranian clergy slammed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Larijani, the head of the judiciary, for publicizing their dispute, which they claim "has created tension in society."

The Mehr News agency reports that Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi said: "Let go of minor issues; stop exchanging letters; attend to the real problems of the people such as rising prices, inflation, sanctions, economic straits and moral difficulties and find solutions for them."

In that last few days, the media has published letters from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the response from Ayatollah Larijani, revealing a dispute over the president's attempts to visit Evin Prison.

Ahmadinejad's top press aide, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, was jailed this month to serve a six-month prison sentence handed to him over the publication of material concerning women's role in Islam, which has been deemed offensive in court.

The judiciary has denied Ahmadinejad's request to visit Evin Prison on the grounds that such a visit would not be appropriate while Javanfekr was serving out his sentence there.

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi adds: "Look at all the excitement in foreign media and their analysts saying the branches of the government are at each other's throats and the country has lost stability."

He stressed: "In recent days, certain letters have been published in the media which are creating tensions; I emphasize that under current circumstances, creating tension in society is haram (forbidden)."

Another senior member of the clergy, Ayatollah Hosseni Nouri Hamadani, was also quoted as saying: "Why do you take your arguments to the papers, the media and foreigners so that the enemy can take advantage of it?"

Ahmadinejad's letter to Ayatollah Larijani, sent three days ago, indicated that he is intent on visiting the prisons and courts in order to deliver a report to the people and the leader of the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Larijani responded in a letter that Ahmadinejad could not visit Evin Prison without prior coordination. He added that the president is by no means forbidden from visiting prison but stressed that his response only emphasizes that under the circumstances, such a visit is not in the country's interest.

The prosecutor general, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, also announced that the president's visit to Evin Prison was not "appropriate" at this time, adding: "Over seven and a half years into his presidency, the president has never requested to visit the prison, and to make such a request at this time when one of his appointees is jailed created political doubts."

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