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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Iran: Fissures in the Monolith

Robert F. Worth writes:

In a sign of persistent fissures within Iran’s conservative ranks, Iran’s supreme leader has told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to reverse his decision to appoint a top deputy, according to comments reported by Iranian news agencies on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, scattered opposition rallies took place in Tehran, the capital, and other cities, with a heavy presence by the police and members of the Basij militia apparently discouraging many from taking to the streets to protest Iran’s disputed June 12 election.

A senior member of Parliament said the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had sent a letter to Mr. Ahmadinejad telling him to dismiss the deputy, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, whose appointment was announced Friday, according to news reports.

“Without any delay, the removal or acceptance of Mashaei’s resignation must be announced by the president,” the deputy speaker of Parliament, Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard, told the ISNA news agency.

The appointment had provoked a storm of criticism from conservatives, who were angered last year when Mr. Mashaei reportedly said that the Iranian people were friends with all other peoples, including Israelis.

link: Ayatollah Tells Ahmadinejad to Drop Choice for Top Iranian Deputy - NYTimes.


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