Ali Motahari

Iranian MP Ali Motahari has accused Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of "abandoning the ideals” of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, and subscribing to the ideas of his advisor, Rahim Mashai.

FARS news agency reports that in a letter to the president, Motahari, a conservative member of Parliament, accused Ahmadinejad of secrecy in his 2005 and 2009 elections.

He wrote: “You did not clarify that you were a follower of Mr. Mashai and that you hold such particular thoughts on Norooz, the Iranian school of thought, the issue of the hijab and cultural matters in general.

"People voted for you as a follower of hezbollah and a person sensitive to cultural and ethical issues, but today they hear intellectual statements from you."

Ahmadinejad’s advisor, Rahim Mashai, has long been antagonizing conservative members of the Islamic Republic establishment with statements that come across more nationalistic than Islamic in the past year. The Iranian New Year, which is not connected with Iran’s Islamic history, had been customarily downplayed until recent years, when the office of the president instituted more elaborate celebrations.

Mashai has also made a distinction between the Iranian school of thought and the Islamic school of thought, mantaining that Iran should promote its own vision of Islam, which according to him is distinctly Iranian.

Today, hardliner Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi announced that those who have been passing off the Iranian school of thought as the Islamic school are "outsiders" and should be regarded with suspicion.

The member of the Assembly of Experts went on to say: "We have not committed ourselves in brotherhood to anyone, and whomever deviates from the path of Islamic will be rejected."