Ayatollah Jannati

Iranian hardliner Ayatollah Jannati used the tribune of Tehran Friday Mass Prayers to once more condemn the so-called “deviant current” around Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

According to Iranian media, Jannati told worshippers that public concern has arisen in recent weeks over certain issues that “have made some groups inside and outside the country happy.”

In the past two weeks, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s efforts to change his Intelligence Minister were thwarted by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who reinstated Heydar Moslehi to the position right after Ahmadinejad had accepted his resignation.

According to insider reports, the Intelligence Minister’s dismissal was triggered by the president’s chief of staff, Esfanidar Rahim Mashai, who is regarded with great suspicion by conservatives and members of the clergy.

Jannati, the head of the powerful Guardian Council, said: “Some have tried to redefine the role of the leader, but that is up to the senior members of the clergy and Islamic experts.”

Jannati used the term “election preparations” to describe the move to dismiss the intelligence minister and to recent distribution of a film claiming that the Hidden Imam of Shiites Mehdi will soon reappear (supposedly a sign of Judgment Day). “The large sums of money that have been used and distributed are not hidden from public view,” he said. “The day will come when the people and the regime will confront them, even though today may not be the right day to do so.”

Maintaining that the “wings of this deviant current have been clipped”, he added that so long as certain individuals follow the path of the leadership they will enjoy the people’s approval but the moment they deviate from it, they will lose their support.

Iranian Principalists have targeted Ahmadinejad and especially his chief of staff Mashai in the last month, accusing them of creating a “deviant current” that undermines the power of the Supreme Leader.

Several Ahmadinejad supporters, including clergy member Hojjatoleslam Abbas Amirifar, were arrested by Islamic Republic authorities in the past week. Amirifar had recently said the Ahmadinejad administration was prepared for the coming elections and was sure to defeat the Principalists.