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July 23, 2009

Ahmadinejad and Mashaei’s Close Bond Shows No Signs of Weakening

Ahmadinejad’s recent appointment of Rahim Mashaei, whose daughter is married to the president’s son, to be his first deputy has received harsh criticism from hardliners.  Ahmadinejad has even ignored the Supreme Leader’s written request to set aside the controversial appointee. Hardliners have been angered by the selection of Mashaei in part because he said last year that “Iran is friends with the American and Israeli people.”
Yesterday, Mashaie attended a farewell function upon his departure from the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran to take up his new post.   In that event, Ahmedinejad spoke highly of Mashaei saying, “one of the biggest honors of my life and one of the biggest favors from God to me is getting to know Mr. Mashaie…I like Mashaie for a thousand reasons…One of those reasons is that when you sit down with him and talk, you feel very close to him.  There’s no distance and he is like a transparent mirror…Unfortunately some people do not know him.”
In response, Mashaei said that “Ahmadinejad is a man for all seasons; of course some seasons are more difficult and others are easier.”
“I have never seen a person so concerned with human beings and with such high understanding of [them],” Mashaei added. “I believe that the road to reaching the summits of honor is much less steep now.”

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