Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: AP
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Photo: AP
Esfandiar Rahim Mashai

Iran president caves in over VP controversy

Ahmadinejad accepts supreme leader Khamenei's call to dismiss senior official who has said Iran is friendly with everyone, even people of its sworn foe Israel

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad finally caved in to an order from the country's supreme leader and dismissed his top deputy after remaining defiant for five days.


The official IRNA news agency quoted Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, a top Ahmadinejad aide, as saying that Esfandiar Rahim Mashai is no longer the first vice president.


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The aide said that following the public statement of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's order to dismiss the president's choice, "Mashai doesn't consider himself first vice president," Hashemi told IRNA.


Iran's top authority called on Ahmadinejad earlier Friday to fire Mashaie, who had said Iran was friendly with everyone, even the people of its sworn foe Israel, state television reported.


"The appointment of ... Esfandiar Rahim Mashai as vice president is against your interest and the interests of the government and will cause division among your supporters," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a letter, cited by state television.


"It is necessary to announce the cancellation of this appointment," Ayatollah Khamenei added.


Despite increased pressure, Ahmadinejad had shown no sign of backing down over his appointment of Mashai as first vice president, whom he praised as modest and loyal to the 1979 Islamic revolution.


Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.24.09, 21:09
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