Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Iran Live Coverage: Ahmadinejad v. Everyone Else

0710 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch (Rumour Edition). Baztab claims that, with his Presidency ending in June, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is putting his closest allies in posts abroad.

The site asserted that Vice President Hamid Baghaei will be the first Ahmadinejad confidante to move, leaving for the United Nations or a diplomatic post in Geneva in February.

The President's office denied the report, saying rumours were being circulated by people close to Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

Baztab is sticking by its story, commenting sarcastically, "Of course we have trust in the Government's words."

0650 GMT: President Ahmadinejad continued his battle with political foes on Tuesday, turning a routine ceremonial speech in Kermanshah Province into a declaration of the corruption of his rivals. 

Ostensibly opening several construction projects, the President repeated his allegation that most of Iran's economy is controlled by "300 or 400" people who manipulate the system to build up their wealth.

While Ahmadinejad did not name names, it is safe to assume that he intended the sharp listener to hear the renewal of his campaign against the Larijani brothers --- Speaker of Parliament Ali, head of judiciary Sadegh, and senior judiciary official Mohammad Javad --- whom he has previously accused of accumulating land through illegal access to loans.

Even more interesting is the prospect that the President is continuing to pick a fight with the Revolutionary Guards, who have a major stake in the economy through their engineering and construction firms as well as holdings in numerous Iranian companies. Last year Ahmadinejad charged that the elite military organisation was benefitting from smuggling through ports and docks.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad's rivals were far from quiet on Tuesday. Indeed, they struck the biggest blow, blocking his move to promote his allies through creation of a "super-ministry" for Infrastructure.

Last month the President said he was merging the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Transport and Roads. He said Ali Nikzad, then Minister of Transport, would take charge of the super-ministry. Observers immediately saw the possibility that Nikzad was being put in place for a run for the Presidency in 2013.

Parliament hit back at the move, declaring that it was illegal without the assent of the Majlis. Yesterday the Guardian Council upheld that opinion.

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

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