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July 21, 2009

Khamenei Fires Ahmadinejad’s Deputy; Ahmadinejad Aid Fights Back

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei

The Supreme Leader has ordered Ahmadinejad’s first deputy to resign from Ahmadinejad’s cabinet just days after his appointment, according to the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament.
However, Ahmadinejad’s senior assistant says “the decision to appoint Mashaei will not be revisited,” according to BBC Persian.
Deputy Speaker Aboutorabi said, “eliminating Mashaei from key positions and the first deputy position is a strategic decision by the regime.  The Supreme Leader’s opinion about the removal of the Mr. Rahim Mashaei from the position of president’s first deputy has been submitted to the President in writing.”
“Without any delay, the dismissal order or Mashaei’s resignation must be announced by the President.”
That apparently did not stop Ahmadinejad’s senior assistant from saying on a live TV program that “I have not seen a clear and convincing reason given by anyone to make [Mashaei’s] appointment to the first deputy position impossible.  Some say he has made mistakes in some of his statements.  Well, everyone makes mistakes.”
Hardline conservatives have been angered by the pick of Mashaei, who said last year that “Iran is a friend of the nation in the United States and in Israel.”
Update: Ahmadinejad’s aid has retreated from his earlier statement, saying he was misinterpreted by the media, Raja News reports [Persian]. The aid says no personnel changes have been made, but that does not mean none will be made in the future.

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