Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has cautioned critics not to accuse members of his caucus of embezzlement, saying: “We will keep silent again for the sake of the Supreme Leader; however, this unifying silence will not last too long.”
The Fars News Agency reports that Ahmadinejad today described his cabinet as “the cleanest government in history” and he criticized the politicians and organizations who “in recent months are trying to strike at the government and accuse it of just about anything.”
Ahmadinejad was referring to a recent report about a $3-billion fraud case involving a branch of the Saderat Bank; a number of groups and politicians have attributed the fraud to the government.
Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Iran’s Auditor General, announced: “This case of financial corruption has no precedent in our country and it has been under serious investigation since last year.”
He added: “This grave wrongdoing began at the Saderat Bank and later reached private and government banks as well.”
The head of the Saderat Bank told a press conference, however, that his bank is not involved in the embezzlement. He said: “This financial abuse of seven banks in Iran has been carried out using forged documents [made to look like they come from] Saderat Bank.”
Ahmadinejad called on the judiciary to identify the perpetrators of this fraud and make their names public.
Iranian principalists, who have openly expressed their disdain for Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, now accuse him of being involved in the fraud case. Mashai has also been accused of leading a “deviant current” in the government that seeks to derail the Islamic Republic and nullify the power of the Supreme Leader.
Ahamdinejad has dismissed all criticism against Mashai and so far has not tried to distance himself from his controversial aide.