July 24, 2009

(Updated) Ahmadinejad’s Cabinet in Turmoil as Ahmadinejad Defies Supreme Leader

Disagreements over Ahmadinejad’s decision to select Mashaei as his first deputy reportedly led to a tense meeting among Ahmadinejad’s cabinet members on Wednesday. Two ministers criticized the President for ignoring the decision of the Supreme Leader to remove Mashaei from his post.  As the discussion became heated, Ahmadinejad ordered a 15 minute recess. When the meeting resumed, Ahmadinejad made a strong statement by putting Mashaei in charge of the meeting.The meeting ended prematurely as some of the ministers left the meeting in protest.
Update: The hardline cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami added pressure on Ahmadinejad to fire Mashaei during Tehran’s Friday prayer services.
”Now that he (Khamenei) has expressed his opinion, there is no room for delay anymore,” Khatami said during the Tehran Friday sermon. ”Legitimacy of all in the Islamic system rests with Vali-e-Faqih (the supreme leader).”
Another hardline cleric, Jafar Shajooni, warned Ahmadinejad risked alienating his conservative supporters if he continues doesn’t fire Mashaei because hardliners “don’t tolerate defiance of the supreme leader’s views,” according to Fars News.
Hundreds of conservative students also demonstrated in support of Ayatollah Khamenei, reportedly chanting “Obeying the leader’s order is the demand of the nation.”

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