Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired his intelligence minister on Sunday after heated oral arguments between the two during a Wednesday night cabinet meeting in Tehran. Qolam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, the cleric intelligence chief, reportedly accused Ahmadinejad of disloyalty to the country’s supreme leader for not withdrawing quickly enough the controversial nomination of Esfandiar Mashaie to be his first VP. Ahmadinejad has since withdrawn the nomination, but has renamed Mashaie as his chief of staff, another top post in the administration.
Ejei’s dismissal as intelligence minister came amid open criticism of Ahmadinejad by the Maj. Gen. Firouzabadi, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed for his delay in complying with an order from Khamenei to drop his pick for vice president.
The conservative backlash intensified today by the announcement that Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, the minister of culture and former editor of ultar-conservative influential daily Kayhan, would not be returning to Ahmadinejad’s adminstration for his second term.