Iran’s Expediency Council

Iran’s Expediency Council is accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of “undermining the system and instigating Iran’s enemies both within and outside the country.” The statement is part of the council’s response to Ahmadinejad’s official letter of complaint, which attacked the council’s chair and the heads of the legislative and judicial branches of the government.

The Expediency Council maintained that it has always been “lenient in the supervision of government actions in accordance with the Supreme Leader’s recommendations” and that it has always adhered to the articles of the constitution. The Expediency Council said no government institution can override its authority, according to the Guardian Council.

The Expediency Council statement says its chairman, Ayatollah Rafsanjani, will refrain from any personal attempt to defend himself against Ahmadinejad’s accusations, out of concern for the integrity of the system. Following the Council’s recommendations, the Chairman has decided to respond through a legal letter prepared by the Council.

Ahmadinejad sent the contentious letter two weeks ago, complaining to the Members of the Parliament that Ayatollah Rafsanjani was using his position to interfere in the affairs of the government. He accused two other top officials of helping him to undermine the administration: Ali Larijani, the parliamentary speaker, and Sadegh Larijani, head of the judiciary.

These disputes arise from parliament’s attempt to limit the president’s power to appoint the head of the Central Bank. Under parliament’s plan, the president would have merely recommended a candidate, with parliament having the final say. When the Guardian Council rejected parliament’s proposal, the MPs appealed to the Expediency Council to get the bill approved.

Accusations are flowing both ways: Ahmadinejad says the parliament is interfering in government affairs; the parliament says Ahmadinejad’s administration is trying to circumvent parliament in its role as government supervisor.

The Expediency Council is comprised of Islamic Republic experts appointed by the Supreme Leader to a five-year term. The current term expires next year.