Political Rift Grows In Iranian Leadership

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad missed another cabinet meeting yesterday, his second no-show of the week.The president’s absence is evidence of a brewing conflict between Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Tensions flared last week when the president tried to dismiss Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi. Khamenei, who has final say in the Islamic Republic, reinstated Moslehi in a public rebuke to Ahmadinejad.

The president has not been seen in public since the incident.

Several of Iran’s hardline politicians are now calling for Ahmadenijad’s impeachment, euronews reports, claiming he has violated parliamentary laws by disobeying the supreme ruler.

The confrontation appears to be part of a power struggle in advance of Iran’s parliamentary elections next year. The AP reports that Ahmadinejad’s move to gain control of the intelligence ministry was likely aimed at setting up one of his loyalists as the country’s next president. Khamenei is thought to want a new political team free of Ahmadinejad’s influence. 

It looks like Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard is on Khamenei’s side, however, so the odds are stacked against Ahmadinejad.