Iran’s Supreme Leader has criticized the actions of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first time in his eight years as president.
Iranian media report that Ayatollah Khamenei said on Saturday February 16 in a speech in Tehran: “The head of one government branch brought an unproven accusation against the other two branches of the government, which is an inappropriate action and a violation of the fundamental rights of the people. It was also against Sharia, against morals and illegal.”
The Supreme Leader was referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appearance in Parliament earlier this month in support of his labour minister, who was being impeached by the lawmakers. Instead of addressing the concerns of the MPs over the actions of the labour minister, the president accused the head of Parliament, Ali Larijani, and his brothers, one of whom heads the judiciary, of corruption and abuse of power.
Ayatollah Khamenei conceded, however: “The impeachment was not right; especially since the reason for the impeachment had nothing to do with that minister.”
Abdolreza Skheikholeslami was impeached for appointing Saeed Mortazavi to head the Social Security Fund. Parliament condemned this appointment because Mortazavi is currently accused of involvement in the torture and death of detainees at Kharizak Prison in 2009. Mortazavi is a staunch Ahmadinejad supporter, and his appointment appears to be just one of the many favours extended to him by the president since he was removed from his position as Tehran Prosecutor after the Kahrizak scandal hit the media.
The labour minister was dismissed by Parliament on February 3, but Ahmadinejad snubbed the lawmakers by appointing Sheikoleslami as his adviser on social affairs and including him in his delegation on his trip to Egypt.
After the parliamentary disputes, Ahmadinejad supporters jeered Ali Larijani in Qom as he was giving a speech to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Revolution. A similar attack was targeted at Ayatollah Rafsanjani, another Ahmadinejad critic, six years ago.
Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that he has on several occasion urged the government head to refrain from such tactics.
He went on to declare that his advice should not become the basis of further polarization and arguments.
Iran’s Supreme Leader has repeatedly called on the heads of the government to refrain from publicizing their disputes.