The Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s dismissal of former foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaki while Mottaki was on an official visit to a foreign capital has brought a wave of criticism against Ahmadinejad, especially on the right and among Ahmadinejad’s normally reliable supporters. Ahmadinejad’s ability in making sound judgments and his tolerance of opposition even among his closest circle of advisors have come under scrutiny. Hossein Shariatmadari, the influential editor of the conservative daily Kayhan, best sums up such reactions to Mottaki’s dismissal.
The dismissal of Mr. Mottaki while on a foreign mission would bring suspicion on the part of the public and the foreigners what seriously urgent issue was at work that did not allow Dr. Ahmadinejad to even wait for 24 hours for his foreign minister’s return to make the decision public. [Ahmadinejad] even saw it critical to contact the press to break the news of the dismissal.
What happened in recent days that the respected president could not wait for few hours to dismiss his foreign minister?
Few months ago, Ahmadinejad appointed his “special envoys” for different parts of the world, like Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie to be his envoy in Middle East. Mottaki objected to these appointments, considering them parallel work with the ministry of foreign affairs, and after the intervention by the supreme leader Ahmadinejad backed off and changed the titles to “advisor.” But three days ago, Mashaie was sent to Jordan to carry a message by Ahmadinejad. Perhaps Mottaki objected to this and was dismissed while on a foreign mission. Ahmadinejad could have waited a bit for God forbid not giving the impression that he cannot take criticism even from his own foreign minister.