Ahmadinejad Ordered to Sack Top Deputy: Reports

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to dismiss his first vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, who had angered hardliners in 2008 by terming Iranians as “friends of all people in the world — even Israelis,” say media reports.

The order comes as a huge blow to an embattled president Ahmadinejad who has strongly backed his decision to appoint Mashai, despite criticism from the country’s conservatives he represents. Especially as it comes at a time when he faces stiff opposition from reformists led by his main opponent Mir Hussein Mousavi.

Mousavi has cast aspersions over Ahmadinejad’s re-election and accuses him of having indulged in electoral impropriety during presidential polls last month.

A report on the Fars News Agency on Wednesday said: “The view of the exalted leader on the removal of Mashai from the post of vice president has been notified to Ahmadinejad in writing.”

Notably, Iran has a council of 12 vice presidents, but as the first vice president Mashai would stand in for Ahmadinejad in his absence.

Notably, Khamenei’s decision comes days after two former presidents – Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami – expressed explicit support for the reformists.

Rafsanjani, also a powerful cleric, had last Friday criticized Khamenei’s decision to validate Ahmadinejad’s re-election.

With his worries burgeoning, Ahmadinejad is yet to announce a stand on the matter but the divide was fairly even with media houses citing supporters as saying that the Mashai’s appointment was within constitutional powers invested in Ahmadinejad while others said that the dismissal was ordered by the ruling system itself and should be implemented without delay.

Caught between reformists on one side and the conservatives on the other, Ahmadinejad’s decision to sack Mashai, his son’s father-in-law, or to retain him may well turn out to be a watershed event for his second presidential term.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker