President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again drawn the ire of the hardline Principlist faction, which in an open letter today accused him of flouting the will of the people and inattention to the advice of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The issue, as it has so often been, is former Vice President Esfiander Rahim Mashaei, who Ahmadinejad officially appointed as a top adviser over the weekend. The long-time Ahmadinejad ally was appointed as First Vice President earlier this month, only to draw fire from right wing clerics and repeated demands for his dismissal from Khamenei.
Mashaei, the former Vice President in charge of tourism, sparked outrage for describing Iran as a “friend of Israel” in comments at a conference, which in the face of repeated Israeli threats to attack earned him considerable scorn. Mashaei has insisted he meant the nation was a friend to the Israeli people only, and not their government.
Today’s open letter cautioned Ahmadinejad that his continued actions with respect to Mashaei are causing “divisions” and said that he should consider what happened to former Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, who was ousted in a 1953 US-backed coup.