AFP: Iranian lawmakers have called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to end an eight-day boycott and accept the supreme leader’s decision to reinstate the intelligence minister, Shargh newspaper reported on Saturday.
By Laurent Maillard
TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian lawmakers have called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to end an eight-day boycott and accept the supreme leader’s decision to reinstate the intelligence minister, Shargh newspaper reported on Saturday.
More than 216 conservatives out of the parliament’s 290 MPs wrote a letter to Ahmadinejad after an “extraordinary” meeting on Thursday, urging him to accept the reinstatement of Heydar Moslehi, the report said quoting Tehran MP Reza Akrami.
“You are expected to adhere to the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and put an end to that which our enemies are taking advantage of,” the lawmakers wrote.
The all-powerful Khamenei reinstated Moslehi despite Ahmadinejad having reportedly forced his resignation, only minutes after it was made public on April 17.
The interference sparked a row within the regime’s leadership, leading to Ahmadinejad’s withdrawal from public view as well as cabinet meetings since April 22, and the cancellation of a visit to Qom, the Shiite clerical city.
The absence is unusual for the hardline president, who is ubiquitous in the media and is also known for his near daily public appearances and speeches.
The crisis seems to have been aggravated by accusations from ultra-conservatives that Ahmadinejad’s close aide and chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, was the one who forced Moslehi’s ouster.
Ahmadinejad’s opponents have rallied against Mashaie, whom the president has staunchly defended, accusing him of leading a “current of deviation” aimed at destroying the Islamic regime.
But Khamenei on Saturday urged state officials to refrain from actions which would give excuse to “the enemy and create a tumult” for the country, in remarks broadcast by state television.
“(When) a tiny lack of coordination appears, the country is harmed,” he said.
“If the lack of coordination is wide and the enemies are made aware of them, (the enemies) create an uproar. They revel. They rejoice when an atmosphere of challenge and confrontation comes to light” in the country.
Khamenei’s remarks came a day after his deputy representative in the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mojtaba Zolnour, accused Mashaie of driving the crisis, and advised the president to distance himself from his close ally.
“Today Mashaie is the actual president. Mr Ahmadinejad has held on to a decaying rope (by relying on) Mr Mashaie… I hope that God will rid the president from the evil of this person,” he was quoted as saying by various papers on Saturday.
As official media continue their blackout on the crisis, Ahmadinejad’s chief media adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, wrote on his website Friday that the president was very “concerned” that if he bowed to pressure, his “achievements” would be lost.
But he also stated Ahmadinejad would “eventually” return to work and put the issue behind him.
His remarks were echoed later on Saturday by Tehran lawmaker Fatemeh Aliya after her two-hour meeting with Ahmadinejad, saying the president would “continue his work”.
“The president has explanations (for his boycott) which he will soon offer” to the people, she was quoted as telling Borna news agency, an offshoot of the state news agency IRNA.