Senior Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi has publicly blasted the behaviour of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling his actions unnatural.
In an interview with Shoma weekly, a newspaper linked to the highly conservative Principalist political group, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi a chief seminary teacher in Qom published targeted Ahmadinejad with some of the harshest criticism he has faced since his dispute began last month with the Supreme Leader and Parliament.
Yazdi has been a staunch supporter of Ahmadinejad and, by many accounts, has also been the president’s spiritual guide.
Ahmadinejad triggered a political confrontation with Principalists by dismissing his intelligence minister without consulting the Supreme Leader, who immediately overruled the president’s decision and reinstated the minister.
“For someone to act in this manner and treat their intimate friends and closest colleagues in a way that they feel offended and begin to stand against them is not a logical move for any politician,” Yazdi said.
Yazdi rebuked Ahmadinejad for “cheap behaviour in the dismissal of certain ministers.” Following the reinstatement of Heydar Moslehi as intelligence minister, Ahmadinejad boycotted cabinet meeting and public duties for 11 days.
Yazdi went on to criticize Ahmadinejad’s support for Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, his chief of staff, whom the senior cleric claimed has led the president to “act erratically.” Yazdi claimed the president must have been “charmed” by Mashai because his actions are “illogical and unnatural.”
The attacks against Ahmadinejad are rooted in his unflinching support for his chief of staff, who has been repeatedly condemned for promoting Iranian nationalism and is regarded as the leader of a so-called “deviant current” in the government.
Yazdi emphasized that “there is something unnatural in this matter” and said: “We witnessed how this questionable individual [Mashai] has harnessed this gentleman [Ahamdinejad] and is holding him in his fist.”