Iran Prez’s allies held for witchcraft

The allies used supernatural powers to keep Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in power.

Tehran: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s close allies have been accused of using supernatural powers to keep their leader in power amid the power struggle between him and the country`s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people believed to be close to the president and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his chief of staff who is described as ``the actual president of Iran``, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits), The Guardian reports.

One of them has even been described by an Iranian news website as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds".

The arrests come amid a growing rift between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, which led many MPs to demand the impeachment of the President.

Ahmadinejad returned to his office on Sunday, after an 11-day walkout in an apparent protest over Khamenei`s reinstatement of the intelligence minister, who the President had initially asked to resign.

Ahmadinejad`s move was criticised by conservatives who warned that he might face the fate of Abdulhassan Banisadr, Iran`s first post-revolution president, who was impeached and exiled for allegedly attempting to undermine clerical power.

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, a cleric close to Khamenei, warned Ahmadinejad`s that disobeying the supreme leader is equivalent to "apostasy from God".

Since Ahmadinejad`s return this week, at least 25 people believed to be close to Mashaei, have been arrested.