Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In a rare hard-hitting piece, a Tehran paper attacked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his immoral, illogical and illegal treatment of his political opponents. The article in the Islamic Republic daily, close to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, referred to a speech by Mr Ahmadinejad made last week when he attacked people opposed to his nuclear programme.
Although the president did not mention any names, most pundits believe that his target was former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who in turn had accused him of harming the country’s interests with his verbal hyperbole, and attacked Hossein Mousavian, a Rafsanjani ally who had been Iran’s main nuclear negotiator between 1997 and 2005.
Mr Mousavian was arrested on an “unspecified security charge” and is now free on bail.
The paper said Mr Ahmadinejad was using this tactic to discredit his political rivals prior to the parliamentary elections due early next year.
Such a direct personal attack against the president from a publication with impeccable Islamic credentials might signal Supreme Leader Khamenei’s intention of clipping Ahmadinejad’s wings.
Some ten days ago Ahmadinejad had scored some major points in the ongoing power struggle at the top of Iran’s power structure when Rahmani Fazli resigned from his post at the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).
Mr Fazli was deputy to former SNSC secretary Ali Larijani, who was in charge of nuclear talks for ten years till his resignation a month ago.
Mr Larijani was replaced by Saeed Jalili, another Ahmadinejad loyalist.