Ira­nian pres­i­dent Ah­madine­jad sacks for­eign min­is­ter

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

TEHRAN: Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad dis­missed his long-serv­ing for­eign min­is­ter on Mon­day and named one of his own close al­lies, Iran's nu­clear chief, Ali Ak­bar Salehi, as his in­terim re­place­ment.

The sack­ing of Manouchehr Mot­taki is an in­di­ca­tion of a strug­gle be­tween the pres­i­dent and par­lia­ment in which the assem­bly has ac­cused Ah­madine­jad of con­cen­trat­ing more power in his own hands and rid­ing roughshod over the views of law­mak­ers.

There was no in­di­ca­tion, how­ever, that the switch sig­naled any shift in Iran's nu­clear pol­icy or the broad lines of its for­eign pol­icy. Supreme Leader Ay­a­tol­lah Ali Khamenei has the last word on nu­clear pol­icy and other mat­ters of state.

"I ap­pre­ci­ate your dili­gence and ser­vices as the for­eign min­is­ter," state news agency IRNA quoted the hard­line Ah­madine­jad as say­ing in a let­ter to Mot­taki.

Mot­taki is viewed as an ally of con­ser­va­tive par­lia­ment speaker Ali Lar­i­jani, who lost to Ah­madine­jad in the 2005 elec­tion and is now seen as the key ri­val of the pres­i­dent in his po­lit­i­cal bat­tle with the assem­bly. Ah­madine­jad has de­layed sign­ing into law leg­is­la­tion passed by par­lia­ment, and held up funds due to be in­vested in Tehran, all the while in­sist­ing it is he who has prece­dence over the assem­bly within Iran's multi-lay­ered po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

Lar­i­jani, a critic of Ah­madine­jad's eco­nomic poli­cies, has tac­itly urged Khamenei to rein him in, to lit­tle vis­i­ble ef­fect.

Prom­i­nent law­mak­ers have warned that they may take le­gal ac­tion against the pres­i­dent, and even im­peach him, for his al­leged dis­re­gard of the con­sti­tu­tion. Some MPs ac­cuse him of spend­ing petro-dol­lars with­out par­lia­men­tary ap­proval.

The pres­i­dent also partly side­lined the tra­di­tion­ally more lib­eral For­eign Min­istry by ap­point­ing sev­eral re­gional for­eign pol­icy ad­vis­ers who ap­peared more in­flu­en­tial than the min­is­ter.

Khabaron­line, a web­site close to the govern­ment, said Mot­taki had "harshly crit­i­cized the pres­i­dent for set­ting up a par­al­lel diplo­matic ap­pa­ra­tus."

Ah­madine­jad ap­pointed Salehi, the head of the Atomic En­ergy Or­ga­ni­za­tion, as care­taker for­eign min­is­ter, state tele­vi­sion re­ported. IRNA said Salehi would also keep his nu­clear post. -Reuters

NEW DELHI: In­dian Min­is­ter of Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Sal­man khur­shid (L) watches as Cor­po­rate Af­fairs Sec­re­tary R. Bandy­opad­hyay ® presents a bouque to Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of In­dia Cor­po­rate week. -Ap

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