The Majlis, Iran’s parliament, today warned President Mahmoud Ahmadineajd to obey an order from the country’s supreme leader to reinstate Iran’s intelligence minister.
The minister, Haidar Moslehi, was pushed out of the cabinet on Sunday in a rift with Ahmadinejad, but Ayatollah Khamenei ordered him to remain as intelligence minister. Moslehi showed up for work today, but the pro-government website dolatyar.com reported that Ahmadinejad doesn’t recognize him as intelligence minister. The post was later removed from the site but Ahmadinejad’s official website still carried the report of Moslehi’s resignation with no mention of Khamenei’s order of his reinstatement.
A statement signed today by 216 Majlis members, more than two-thirds of the 290-seat parliament, warned Ahmadinejad that Majlis expects nothing but “total obedience to the (Supreme Leader’s) order without any questions” [Fars News Agency, 20 April].
The rare public display of disunity among the country’s senior leadership started last week when Ahmadinejad’s closest ally and chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, was forced out of office by hardliners who considered his championship of the Iranian identity of the Islamic Republic a direct challenge to the country’s clerical establishment. The intelligence minister Moslehi, himself a hardliner cleric, was thought to be behind the push to oust Mashaie.