Iran’s Ahmadinejad gives new job to aide seen as possible heir

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has moved his chief of staff, seen as a potential successor and a target of criticism from hardline conservatives, to another job, according to the president’s official website on Saturday.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie has provoked the ire of Ahmadinejad’s conservative rivals, who accuse him of trying to undermine Iran’s theocratic system. Ahmadinejad has defended his closest aide throughout the attacks.

In a statement on Saturday, Ahmadinejad thanked Mashaie for his service, appointing him to a position in the Non-Aligned Movement, the 120-member bloc of countries whose rotating chair is held by Iran.

“I consider knowing and working with you to be a divine gift and great honor,” Ahmadinejad wrote in the statement addressed to Mashaie.

Ahmadinejad, who has faced criticism from conservative rivals in parliament over his economic performance, is finishing his last year in office and by law cannot run again in presidential elections due in June 2013. Some analysts, and Ahmadinejad’s rivals, believe he has been grooming Mashaie to succeed him.

Conservative politicians and allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have accused Mashaie of leading a “deviant current” bent on undermining the political role of the clergy, the ultimate authorities in Iran. He has been criticized for emphasizing the nationalist strain of Iranian history and culture over religion.

Mashaie recently gave a speech praising Ahmadinejad and expressing hope for “lively” elections, Iranian media reported this week, boosting speculation that he is considering a presidential run.

In a separate letter, Ahmadinejad appointed vice-president Hassan Mousavi to be his new chief of staff.

Reuters

  • nagy_michael2

    The so-called haters of Jews is grooming his father-in-law for presidency who happens to be the protectors of Israeli interest.. I am just curious if Ahmed Fool is really pro-israelis after all that tough talk.. No wander few nuclear scientist got assasinated the last few years. Ahmed Beik is tipping the mossad off thru his relative..

  • nagy_michael2

    The so-called haters of Jews is grooming his father-in-law for presidency who happens to be the protectors of Israeli interest.. I am just curious if Ahmed Fool is really pro-israelis after all that tough talk.. No wander few nuclear scientist got assasinated the last few years. Ahmed Beik is tipping the mossad off thru his relative..

  • wargame1

    I would like to make some input regarding Ahmadinejad identity. Ahmadinejad was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad’s birthplace, and the name derives from “weaver of the Sabour”, the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. Sabourjian is well known Jewish name in Iran. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran’s Ministry of the Interior.A London-based expert on Iranian Jewry said that “jian” ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practicing Jews.
    The Iranian leader has not denied his name was changed when his family moved to Tehran in the 1950s. But he has never revealed what it was changed from or directly addressed the reason for the switch.

  • wargame1

    I would like to make some input regarding Ahmadinejad identity. Ahmadinejad was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad’s birthplace, and the name derives from “weaver of the Sabour”, the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. Sabourjian is well known Jewish name in Iran. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran’s Ministry of the Interior.A London-based expert on Iranian Jewry said that “jian” ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practicing Jews.
    The Iranian leader has not denied his name was changed when his family moved to Tehran in the 1950s. But he has never revealed what it was changed from or directly addressed the reason for the switch.