11/13/2007, 00.00
IRAN
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Ahmadinejad attacks “domestic traitors” who oppose Iran’s nuclear programme

Iranian president responds to Rafsanjani without naming him. Former president had called for national unity against US threats because of Iran’s nuclear programme, something which Ahmadinejad has dismissed.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Cracks are showing in Iran’s power structure as a result of its nuclear programme. International opposition and United Nations sanctions have raised tensions within the Islamic Republic. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has referred to the situation yesterday when he called opponents to the programme “traitors.”

Iran’s press reported today a speech Mr Ahmadinejad delivered at Tehran's Science and Industry University.

“If the domestic elements do not stop imposing pressure over the nuclear issue, they will be unmasked before the Iranian nation,” he told students.

“The conditions will not remain where we sit back and watch while traitors do whatever they want. One day, eventually, I will reveal what has happened behind the scenes on these issues. It will serve as a lesson for future generations and show what a fierce conflict has occurred.”

The president did not name the alleged culprits but his comments appeared directed at a circle close to Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and powerful establishment figure, who has accused Mr Ahmadinejad of endangering the country with his confrontational rhetoric.

Rafsanjani has called for national unity in the face of "very serious" external threats, namely the United States. In an apparent reference to his differences with the president, Rafsanjani said "division" existed inside Iran but internal conflicts could destabilise the country.

His words contrasted with those of Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly dismissed the possibility of a US military strike against Iran.

Another of Ahmadinejad's targets appeared to be Hossein Mousavian, a Rafsanjani ally and former nuclear negotiator under the 1997-2005 reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami, who was detained earlier this year on unspecified espionage charges before being released on bail.

In this case Ahmadinejad referred to the Rafsanjani ally indirectly by talking about someone arrested on espionage charges without mentioning any names. (PD)

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