Ahmadinejad backs down in ‘treason’ row
IRAN’S president has backed down in a public row with the judiciary after the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader described such disputes as treason.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledging to focus his attention on overcoming western sanctions instead.
The exchange suggests Mr Ahmadinejad is being further marginalised ahead of presidential elections next year to choose his successor.
Mr Ahmadinejad initially enjoyed the ayatollah’s support, but then challenged some of his powers and lost a series of battles culminating in the defeat of his political allies in parliamentary elections this year.
Mr Khamenei’s harsh criticism was seen as a direct strike at Mr Ahmadinejad, who publicly criticised Iran’s judiciary chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, last week for rejecting his request to visit Evin prison, where his top press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, is being held.
“The government fully welcomes your notice … [and] won’t engage in domestic quarrels and disputes and will patiently tolerate all unkind behaviour as before,” Mr Ahmadinejad said in the letter to Mr Khamenei, posted on his president.ir website.
Mr Ahmadinejad said his government would focus on how to reduce economic pressures from tightened sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme, which it insists is for civilian not military purposes.
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