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Iran’s Ahmadinejad visits press aide on medical leave from jail

Bloomberg

By Ladane Nasseri

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, in a Tehran hospital following his temporary release from jail last week.

Javanfekr, who is serving a six-months prison sentence over the publication of controversial material, is receiving treatment for “heart problems” at the capital’s Atieh hospital, according to reports published today in local media including the Tehran-based Etemaad newspaper. Ahmadinejad visited his aide in the hospital yesterday. Javanfekr is scheduled to return to jail later today.

Ahmadinejad’s requests to visit his media adviser while in detention were turned down by the head of the judiciary, leading to an exchange of verbal diatribes between the two men. The incident highlighted frictions in the ruling elite at a time when international sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program are taking their toll on the economy.

Javanfekr, who oversaw the official Islamic Republic News Agency, was imprisoned on Sept. 26 on charges of insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and publishing an article questioning the history of Iran’s head-to-toe robe worn by some women. He was cleared of this accusation last month, according to a Nov. 19 report in the Iranian Students News Agency, though he will still serve time for publishing offensive material on Islamic norms, ISNA said.