Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Iran

Dispute Between Ahmadinejad, Judiciary Festers Over Evin Prison Visit

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad speaks in front of looming posters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) and revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. (file photo)
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad speaks in front of looming posters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) and revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. (file photo)

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A day after Iran’s judiciary turned down a request by President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to visit Tehran’s Evin prison, the combative president has accused the judiciary of unconstitutional behavior.

Ahmadinejad had asked to visit the notorious prison following the imprisonment of his press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who was detained in September while the Iranian president was attending the UN General Assembly in New York.

The judiciary -- one of the country’s three top political branches, along with the presidency and the parliament -- publicly reacted to the demand by calling the visit inappropriate at a time when the country is facing mounting economic problems exacerbated by Ahmadinejad’s economic mismanagement and Western sanctions.

"We must pay attention to major issues," Prosecutor-General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said, adding, “Visiting a prison in these circumstances is a minor issue."

Ali Akbar JavanfekrAli Akbar Javanfekr
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Ali Akbar Javanfekr
Ali Akbar Javanfekr
In a sharply worded letter to the head of the judiciary, Javad Larijani, Ahmadinejad struck back by listing a number of articles in Iran's Constitution concerning the responsibilities of the judiciary and the president.

"I have to remind you that in the constitution, there is nothing that requires asking permission or agreement of the judiciary when it comes to exercising the president's legal duties,” he wrote.

'Very Harsh Attack'

Iran watchers see the escalating public dispute as further proof of the bitter power struggle ongoing within the Islamic republic, a power struggle that  has significantly weakened but which has failed to fully neutralize the Iranian president, whose second and final term ends in 2013.  

Paris-based political analyst Morteza Kazemian told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that Ahmadinejad’s letter demonstrates that he will continue to publicly spar with his powerful rivals, who are close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.  

“In reaction to the humiliation he faced from Mohseni Ejei, Ahmadinejad launched a very harsh attack against the head of the judiciary. It shows that he is determined to make the maximum use of his position with an eye on the future presidential election," Kazemian says. "He is not willing to easily give the presidency to his rivals.”   

In his letter, Ahmadinejad said that his demand to visit Evin -- which Ejei linked to the imprisonment of his aide Javanfekr – was aimed at seeing “how the nation’s rights are being preserved,” which he would report to the nation and the supreme leader.

Ahmadinejad said the jailing of Javanfekr, who was sentenced to six months for publishing materials contrary to Islam and for insulting Khamenei, was unjust, and asked in his letter, “How do you know that meeting with [Javanfekr] was on my work agenda?”

Political Calculations?

Ahmadinejad's demand to visit the prison -- home to many of Iran’s political prisoners, including those sentenced for protesting his disputed reelection in 2009 -- has been met with raised eyebrows by many in Iran’s media and political circles.

Journalist Mehdi Mahdaviazad believes the president’s sudden interest in Evin is a politically calculated move. Ahmadinejad has in the past been accused of trying to influence the 2013 presidential vote.

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison. (file photo)
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison. (file photo)


“Ahmadinejad, with his shrewd moves and games, is every day inciting the centers of power allied with Khamenei," Mahdaviazad says. "His latest game is his alleged interest to visit Evin after [not going during] seven years in power. Yet we know very well that he doesn’t care about the prisoners' conditions and democracy.”

Analysts say this latest move has marginalized Ahmadinejad even further and turned some of his former hard-line backers against him.

In an October 22 interview with the daily “Etemad,” Khamenei’s representative in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Force (IRGC), Ali Saeedi, is quoted as saying that he regrets his past support for Ahmadinejad.

“We did not have the prescience to know what was going on in Ahmadinejad’s mind and what he wanted to do in the future," Saeedi says.

He said he personally told the Iranian president that he could have been a hero.

Radio Farda broadcaster Babak Ghafooriazar contributed to this report
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Brian from: Canada
October 24, 2012 01:38
This again underlines the vibrant and free Islamic system of governance that exists in Iran. Even if the West claims that Iran is not free (according to Western standards) its freer than any US backed despotic systems worldwide. Its even freer that then US, where the super rich control policy and election outcomes.
In Response

by: Behnam from: Canada
October 24, 2012 08:02
Brian -- you are obviously ignorant of the concept of "liberal democracy".

Your bigotry against and hatred of successful individuals comes through well.

Have you ever thought of moving to Iran or Venezuela, to benefit from the "freedoms" there? I encourage you in that.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 24, 2012 14:05
Why move to Iran or Venezuela - move to EU- and NATO-member states such as Greece or Spain and you, Brian, will be able to enjoy:
(a) a 20 % contraction of the economy in 4 (!!!) years (the case of Greece);
(b) a 25 % of unemployment (in both cases);
(c) some 45-50 % of youth unemployment (in both cases);
(d) police regularly beating up demonstrators (both cases) and shooting at them with rubber bullets in the subway (like it was done in Madrid during the latest unrest in September);
(e) and of course you will be able to enjoy the national economy and finance controled and mismanaged by Frau Merkel and the International Monetary Fund.
So, Brian, do not listen to anyone and move directly to "Free Europe" - and the latter will give you a good lesson of what the concept of "liberal democracy" is all about!

by: Parviz from: Tehran
November 02, 2012 05:18
The bloodthirsty moron didn't give a damn about political prisoners for 7 1/2 years, now we read:


In his letter, Ahmadinejad said that his demand to visit Evin -- which Ejei linked to the imprisonment of his aide Javanfekr – was aimed at seeing “how the nation’s rights are being preserved,” which he would report to the nation and the supreme leader.

Does he think everyone is a moron like himself?

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