Iran’s supreme leader rejects president’s top deputy for not being anti-Israel

July 22, 2009

(ChattahBox) — With the continued unrest after the presidential elections in Iran and the former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani challenging the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during Muslim prayers, Khamenei is struggling to keep hard-liners’ support.  So much so that he has now been forced to slap down his protege President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and make him back off on a vital appointment. The supreme leader has ordered Ahmadinejad to dismiss his choice for top deputy vice president after the appointment drew sharp condemnation from their hard-line base.

Iran has 12 vice presidents, but the first vice president is the most important because he succeeds the president if he dies, or is removed. Hard headed Ahmadinejad’s appointment for his top vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, was denounced by ultra-conservative clerics and politicians alike. It probably doesn’t help matters, that Mashai’s daughter is married to Ahmadinejad’s son. But what really-really upsets the hard-line conservatives is that Mashai while serving as vice president in charge of tourism and cultural heritage last year, said Iranians are “friends of all people in the world — even Israelis.” Nepotisim could be overlooked in Iran, but not a politician who shows any weakness toward Israel.  Ahmadinejad has strongly defended the appointment forcing Khamenei who is facing unprecedented opposition to act.

Khamenei who has the ultimate say in state affairs in Iran but does not have a formal role in approving appointments ruled. “The view of the exalted leader on the removal of Mashai from the post of vice president has been given to Ahmadinejad in writing,” the semiofficial Fars news agency reported Wednesday.  So far Ahmadinejad remains defiant and says he will not drop his DP choice.  I hope he sticks to his guns because it may be his undoing and Khamenei’s as well.



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