Ahmadinejad mulled resignation over row: reports

AFP – May 29, 2011

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad considered resigning after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vetoed a minister’s sacking, but ultimately decided not to, parliament’s deputy speaker said Sunday.

“At one stage the president went as far as (considering) to resign, but he calculated that he should continue his work,” Mohammad Reza Bahonar, the first deputy speaker of conservative-dominated parliament, was quoted as saying.

Ahmadinejad withdrew from public life for 10 days in late April in protest after Khamenei blocked his decision to dismiss Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi.

The showdown triggered a political crisis within the conservative camp in the Iranian political hierarchy, with the ultra-religious conservatives denouncing Ahmadinejad’s decision as a threat to the regime and urging him to toe the line.

“The supreme leader wants the government to continue its work to the end of its term with serenity and on a natural course,” Bahonar added referring to the end of Ahamdinejad’s tenure in August 2013.

Ahmadinejad cannot run for the next presidential election set for June 2013 as the Islamic republic constitution prohibits more than two successive terms for presidents.

“It is not in the national interests of the country for the government to be weakened… but it is necessary for the government to gradually distance itself from the deviant current,” said Bahonar.

He was referring to Ahmadinejad’s staff, especially his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, who the ultra-conservatives accuse of wanting to undermine the Islamic regime.

Ultra-conservatives blame the political crisis on Mashaie, who they say is too liberal, nationalistic and has too much influence on Ahmadinejad.

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