AFP: The crisis in the higher echelons of Iran’s regime has “passed,” influential conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said on Friday, as he issued a veiled warning to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
TEHRAN, May 13, 2011 (AFP) – The crisis in the higher echelons of Iran’s regime has “passed,” influential conservative cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Janati said on Friday, as he issued a veiled warning to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The confrontation between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sparked by the aborted dismissal of Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi was “really unexpected,” Janati said in a prayer sermon at Tehran University.
“We did not expect this from (Ahmadinejad) … but the crisis has passed. Calm has returned and minds have been put at ease,” said the cleric, who heads the powerful Guardians Council, a body which overseas electoral procedures in Iran.
But Janati warned Ahmadinejad, without naming him, not to allow the recurrence of any rebellion against the authority of the all-powerful Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in the Islamic republic.
“He who makes bad decisions will lose the popular support,” Janati said in an allusion to Ahmadinejad’s efforts to invoke popular support against his critics within the regime’s conservatives.
Despite his repeated and public assertions of allegiance to the supreme leader, Ahmadinejad has been harshly grilled by conservative opponents for challenging Khamenei’s decision in rejecting Moslehi’s dismissal.
Moslehi, whose ministry has a key role in the vetting of electoral candidates, was reportedly put under pressure by Ahmadinejad to resign in late April amid a struggle for control of the intelligence network ahead of a parliamentary poll in March 2012.
In protest at Khamenei’s veto, Ahmadinejad withdrew from the public eye and abandoned cabinet meetings as well as official visits in late April, provoking an unprecedented crisis within the conservative camp.
Janati also indirectly cautioned the president that he could not indefinitely protect his controversial chief advisor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, the bane of religious traditionalists in the Iranian regime.
Mashaie, who has worked closely with Ahmadinejad for more than 25 years, has been condemned for holding nationalistic views dating back to pre-Islamic Iran.
“Some people seek to cause a deviation, and act against the country and Velayat-e Faqih (the supreme leader)… But there will come a day that the regime and the people will deal with them,” Janati warned.