Ali Saeedlou

Iranian Parliament has criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for interfering in the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by appointing Ali Saeedlou as the president’s aide for international affairs.

The Khaneh Mellat website reports: “The foreign ministry is the main body for the country’s foreign policy, and this new adjutancy will encroach upon the policies decided by the foreign minister and the ministry.”

On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad issued an order appointing the former head of the Physical Education Organization as his aide in international affairs "to follow up on and coordinate the president’s international responsibilities.”

MP Hamidreza Fouladgar said the appointment promotes “parallel responsibilities” in the foreign policy arena. He added: “If the international affairs aide is coordinating the president’s trips abroad and follows up on the results of negotiations with foreign leaders, in effect it is intruding into the domain of the foreign ministry, because this is the vast ministry that is connected to all the embassies administering the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy all around the world.”

Another MP, Hossein Nejabat, also condemned the appointment, saying: “The foreign ministry has the structure in place to attend to the foreign affairs needs of the administration, and such an appointment at this time is irrelevant.”

The head of the faction of clerics in Parliament, Mohammadtaghi Rahbar, said: “So long as we have a foreign minister, creating this adjutancy is meaningless, and its role can only be interpreted as parallel action around foreign policy.”

The Esfahan representative in Parliament said Ahmadinejad’s attempts last year to create roles for special representatives in international affairs led to difficulties in the diplomatic arena, and this new position could lead to similar difficulties.

Last year Ahmadinejad appointed four of his allies as representatives in different fields of foreign policy, but when Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, frowned upon the move as “parallel work in foreign policy,” the president changed the appointment terms, referring to the special representatives as his aides.