Iran leader`s warning appears to rebuke president

Iran`s supreme leader warned on Saturday he will intervene in the government`s affairs anytime necessary in an apparent rebuke to President Ahmadinejad for challenging the clerical leader`s all-encompassing authority.

Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 23:27 PM IST

Tehran: Iran`s supreme leader warned on Saturday
he will intervene in the government`s affairs anytime
necessary in an apparent rebuke to President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad for challenging the clerical leader`s
all-encompassing authority.

Their most recent confrontation involved Ahmadinejad`s
dismissal last week of the country`s powerful intelligence
minister, whom Ayatollah Ali Khamenei then quickly reinstated
in a slap to the president.

Ahmadinejad, who has said in the past that Khamenei
was like a father to him, has enjoyed strong support from the
supreme leader, especially in the tumultuous period after his
disputed re-election in 2009. At times, though, he has defied
the country`s most powerful figure.

Some have accused the president and his allies of
trying to amass more power and challenge Khamenei`s ultimate
authority.

"I won`t allow, as long as I`m alive, an iota of
deviation of this massive movement of the nation," Khamenei
said in a speech broadcast on state TV today.

"In principle, I have no intention to intervene in
government affairs ... unless I feel an expediency is being
ignored as it was the case recently," he said, referring to
the dispute over the intelligence minister.

Khamenei, who was addressing hundreds of Iranian
citizens in his residence in Tehran, said he was right and he
would stand by his words.

"With the help of God, ... I firmly stand by our right
stance," he said.

Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi resigned last
week after apparent disputes with Ahmadinejad and the
president publicly accepted his resignation but Khamenei
ordered him to remain in the Cabinet.

In a sign of mounting tensions, Ahmadinejad has
reportedly refused to give in to the order and has not invited
Moslehi to the latest Cabinet meeting.

The dispute has also pointed to a potential weakness
in the heart of Ahmadinejad`s government, as its base of
support shrinks among parliament members and others.
A statement signed by 216 parliament members -- more
than two-thirds of the 290-seat chamber -- warned Ahmadinejad
Wednesday that he cannot disobey Khamenei, who has the last
word in all state affairs.

PTI