By Arash Bahmani, Rooz Online
The verbal attacks of Iran’s principlists - ruling hardliners - against president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad take on new colors and excuses by the day: Former supports of the president are complaining for various reasons; his behavior in Venezuela; his 8-year record; his remarks on the economy of the country; etc.
Ahmadinejad’s supporters on the other hand are also concerned about the volume and nature of criticism against their leader and have written that if this trend continues, Ahmadinejad may one day end up in Evin prison.
Hassan Mamdehi, a member of the Assembly of Experts on Leadership - a body that is constitutionally charged with monitoring the work of the supreme leader - has said that the biggest problem the country faces is “mismanagement.” “The president and members of the administration pretend that people’s economic conditions are good but we see that problems are exerting pressure on the public and have made their life difficult. They have not done work for the people. They increase prices and then reduce them a little and claim that they have lowered the prices. These officials are shameless over their lies, and by mocking people. Sanctions and wrong domestic ideas are the grounds for the problems in the country, but our biggest problem today mismanagement but officials can solve them, he said”
In addition to criticism over the economic conditions in the country, Ahmadinejad’s remarks over the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has also brought forth harsh criticism from the principlists. Ahmad Janati, the secretary of the powerful Guardians Council that is entrusted with the role of protecting the constitution of the Islamic republic and vetting all candidates to national elections, this Friday had his own criticism. He specifically objected to the award recently given to Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, Ahmadinejad’s controversial chief of staff. “To be heavenly is not something that can be bestowed on somebody with a medal. Even if we assume that Chavez was very good, popular and politically in harmony with us, but he is still a non-Muslim.” He continued, “Prior to saying these things he should have studied a little and learned something and then mentioned these things.”
Janati’s remark is over what Ahmadinejad recently said and done over Chavez’s death: The Iranian government announced a day of national mourning for Chavez’s death, and Ahmadinejad described the former Venezuelan leader in these words, “I have no doubt that he shall return with the perfect human beings with Jesus and shall help mankind in establishing full peace, justice, kindness and perfection.” And on his arrival for Chavez’s funeral ceremony, Ahmadinejad said, “Jesus Christ and the perfect man shall help people, something that Chavez deeply believed in.” At a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Ahmadinejad also said that Chavez was a spiritual man but that he did not have the opportunity to express this. “He had the pure spirit of a Basiji (someone who is internally driven to do good) and a hezbollahi and was in love with people,” he had said.
The declaration of a national day of mourning and Ahmadinejad’s comments about Chavez immediately brought forth critical responses from the ruling hardline principlists. They also asked him not to make religious comments.
Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, the head of the Jame Modaresin Hoze Elmie Qom (The Association of Teachers of the Qom Theological Seminary) and the former head of the judiciary responded with these words: “We sincerely request that he remain quiet during his remaining term and refrain from expressing religious opinions and accept that he does not have the necessary knowledge about religious issues, and that he should ask if necessary. How much do you know about Rajaat (a concept in Islam roughly translated as the return of the holy to earth), which is a principle of Shiite Islam? When you speak about something as sensitive as this, people’s sensitivities are provoked.”
But in addition to remarks about Chavez, Ahmadinejad’s remarks about his efforts to combat economic corruption have also brought forth criticism from the principlists. Hossein Fadai, the secretary general of the Jamiate Isargaran group (Society of the Devotees of the Islamic revolution, of which Ahmadinejad is said to have been a founder) said that Ahmadinejad had participated in less than five sessions of the special government interagency body assigned to combat corruption and added, “The details of the corruption files indicate that there have been direct or indirect support for corrupt activities. The very same person who beats the chest about fighting economic corruption does not care about billions of Toman passed on to corrupt hands. Mr. Ahmadinejad has publicly said that he would consider anyone who confronts any of his associates or deputies as if he were confronting him, and stressed that these individuals were his red lines. In other words, they have created an immune zone for some individuals.”
In recent years some close associates of Ahmadinejad have been charged by principlists to be engaged in financial corruption. Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, his first vice-president is one such person implicated in the Bimeh insurance company corruption lawsuit. According to Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, the head of the State Audit Organization, investigation into this lawsuit was suspended on orders from the supreme leader. In another $3 billion lawsuit, Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashai is implicated. Yet another Ahmadinejad associate and former minister of labor Sadegh Mahsooli has also been questioned about his wealth by principlists.
These attacks have brought forth responses from Ahmadinejad’s supporters. Mojtaba Daneshtalab, for example, who is a young principlist supporting the president, writes on his weblog that, “the group that wants to eliminate Ahmadinejad will not sit idle. Even the counsel of the supreme leader has no effect on them. The goal remains the elimination of Ahmadinejad.” Party affiliated principlists did not support the administration for more than 2 to 3 years and their right-wing conservatists even preferred to support Ahmadinejad’s rival in the 2009 presidential elections. “The elimination of Ahmadinejad apparently became serious from late 2009 when they began to think that the problems associated with the sedition (a term associated with those who questioned the integrity of the 2009 presidential elections and reelection of Ahmadinejad) could even threaten the survival of the regime and their positions but which could be stopped by the elimination of Ahmadinejad. Impeaching the president was an idea that existed in those days among some principlists and the Majlis has been searching for grounds to contain the administration. The opponents of the administration believe that the government is done with and should not leave office in good faith. So they are waiting for an opportunity to remove him, even if it is just a day before his term ends. Even if he does finish his term, there is so much hatred towards him that they want him to pay for his oppositions, particularly if the next administration takes a different approach altogether. That is when lawsuits against him would be the easiest action which could end Ahmadinejad in Evin prison,” he has written on his website, a narrative that may indeed materialize considering the entrenchment of the positions of those who oppose the president and his allies.
... Payvand News - 03/19/13 ... --