This is not confirmed, but interesting.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an ultimatum that could soon leave Iran without a president.
The Ayatollah of Iran demanded Ahmadinejad either reinstate former Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi or resign his post, according to Morteza Agha-Tehrani who serves as a close advisor to the president.
President Ahmadinejad fired Moslehi after it was discovered the former intelligence minister had ordered the surveillance of several offices belonging to the president’s cabinet, including the office of President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
The Ayatollah has given President Ahmadinejad a few days to contemplate his decision.
News of Ahmadinejad’s possible resignation was first reported by the wire service Arab Net, which was later republished by Arabic-language media outlet Al Arabiya.
Could not happen to a nicer guy if true.
In the Byzantine corridors of Iranian power, a tussle between Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is becoming steadily more bitter. The latest bout began in April when Mr Ahmadinejad discovered that Heidar Moslehi, the minister of intelligence, was bugging the offices of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his own chief of staff and a close ally. Mr Ahmadinejad fired Mr Moslehi. But Mr Khamenei, who dislikes Mr Mashaei, fast reinstated him.
In a huff, Mr Ahmadinejad refused to attend cabinet meetings, cancelled a visit to Qom, Iran’s holiest city, and avoided public appearances for more than a week. He eventually came out of his sulk after nearly 300 MPs urged him in a letter to respect Mr Khamenei’s decision and to resume his duties. Some hinted that he should be impeached.
The president is unlikely to bow out any time soon. He still has enough allies in the majlis, Iran’s parliament, who can generally bully his opponents into line. He enjoys a fair bit of support in rural areas. Mid-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guard and the baseej, a bunch of thuggish volunteer militiamen, still largely back him and some high-ranking clerics in Qom are behind him. There is no constellation aligned against him yet.
But that may change. Mr Ahmadinejad has begun removing subsidies on bread, fuel and other items, reckoned to be worth $100 billion a year. People are feeling the pinch. In recent weeks factory workers have protested outside the presidential office over unpaid wages. In the south others have gone on strike.
Most crucially, the president can no longer rely on the supreme leader, who has the final say in all matters of national import. In the past Mr Ahmadinejad has trodden warily when it comes to Mr Khamenei. Both are conservatives. They have seldom differed on issues such as Iran’s nuclear programme or its regional policies. Theirs is a battle for internal power, in both economic and political fields.
Faster please — and too bad we cannot get both to resign since we all know an Iranian nuclear program will certainly only be used for peaceful purposes.
I wake up every morning praying for a slow news day so I can do my laundry, but it is not to be, apparently.
Arab TV has announced that Khameini has requested Ahmadinejad’s resignation. This has not yet been confirmed by Western media. Confirmed, however, is the arrest of his allies on suspicion of sorcery. Yes, sorcery:
Close allies of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).
Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds.”
So much for the laundry.