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Ahmadinejad gets post-presidency seat on top Iran council

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses his weekly Friday prayer sermon at Tehran University on August 2, 2013. Iran’s supreme leader on Monday appointed Ahmadinejad to the Expediency Council, the country’s top political arbitration body headed by an avid critic of the outgoing president. (AFP/File)

TEHRAN (AFP) –  Iran’s supreme leader on Monday appointed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Expediency Council, the country’s top political arbitration body headed by an avid critic of the outgoing president.

In announcing the appointment, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Ahmadinejad’s “worthy efforts” as president.

“Considering the profuse experience you gained during eight years of worthy efforts, I appoint you as a member of the Expediency Council,” read a statement posted on Khamenei’s website

The council is headed by ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who repeatedly criticised Ahmadinejad during his turbulent eight-year presidency for his controversial political and economic policies.

It is dominated by conservatives and acts as an advisory body for Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic republic who has final say on all key policies, including nuclear talks and foreign policy.

Ahmadinejad vacated office on Saturday after two turbulent four-year terms, leaving Iran divided domestically, isolated internationally and struggling economically.

He was succeeded by moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani, who has promised to engage constructively with world powers over Iran’s contentious nuclear drive and to stave up the shrinking economy.

In the last two years of his presidency, Ahmadinejad fell from grace with Khamenei following a public power struggle, and during his tenure he was also involved in high-profile feuds with parliament speaker Ali Larijani and judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.

The Expediency Council comprises high-ranking religious and political figures and former government officials.

It is also tasked with resolving legislative issues between the parliament and the Guardians Council, which interprets the constitution.

Iran’s outgoing President Ahmadinejad arrives in Iraq for 2nd visit weeks before stepping down

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

BAGHDAD –  Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad landed in Iraq on Thursday in his second official visit to the country, highlighting the growing ties between the two Shiite-led neighbors.

The Iranian leader is expected to meet with top Iraqi officials and visit Shiite holy sites during his two-day visit to Iraq, which is grappling with its worst outbreak of violence in half a decade.

Ahmadinejad previously flew to Iraq in 2008, the first ever trip by an Iranian president since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and the two countries’ bloody war in the 1980s. He used that earlier visit to emphasize a new chapter in “brotherly” relations between the one-time foes and take swipes at the United States over the legacy of its 2003 military invasion.

Iran’s president-elect, Hasan Rouhani, is expected to be sworn in and take over from Ahmadinejad in early August.

Ahmadinejad was greeted with traditional kisses on the cheek by Iraqi Vice President Khudier al-Khuzaie, who met him on a red carpet laid out on the airport tarmac in Baghdad.

The vice president is standing in for Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who suffered a stroke in December and has been absent from Iraq’s political scene while he receives treatment in a German hospital.

Iranian state television reported that Ahmadinejad hopes the visit will boost economic cooperation between the two neighbors, which it says now amounts to $13 billion in annual trade.

Among topics on the agenda is the finalization of a gas import deal to ship 25 million cubic meters of Iranian gas daily to fuel Iraqi power plants, which are still incapable of provide a steady supply of electricity, according to Iranian state TV. A new gas pipeline from Iran is expected to open later this summer.

Iraq is a major market for Iranian goods, including cars, construction materials and food products such as tomato paste and ice cream. Those exports provide an important source of hard currency for Iran, which has been increasingly cut off from the world’s financial system following multiple rounds of sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

The U.S.-led invasion ten years ago that toppled Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-heavy regime set in motion a rapid turnaround in relations between Iran and Iraq, which fought a ruinous eight-year war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Saddam’s ouster put Iraq’s majority Shiites in control, and many Shiites who had fled persecution by Saddam and took refuge in Iran returned home. Millions of Iranians now visit Shiite holy sites in Iraq annually, and top Iraqi leaders including al-Maliki have paid visits to Iran.

Still, many Iraqis remain suspicious of Iranian influence in their country. Sunni Arabs in particular resent the government’s warm ties with Tehran and some criticize al-Maliki of being too close to the Islamic Republic.

Washington wants Baghdad to do more to stop what it suspects are Iranian arms shipments being flown through Iraqi airspace to Syria’s Iranian-backed regime. Shiite militant groups inside Iraq, some of which have been sending militants to fight alongside Syrian regime troops, are believed to receive backing and training from Tehran.


Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

Ahmadinejad Departure in Iran Means Moving Desk Down Hall

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is seen during a ceremony at Tehran’s Golestan Palace celebrating its inscription onto the UNESCO World Heritage List, on July 7, 2013. Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images


By Ladane Nasseri - Jul 17, 2013 9:53 AM PT

Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the creation of an agency in the presidential office in an effort to retain a presence even after his successor, Hassan Rohani, takes over.

The new “Former President’s Office” was outlined in a June 22 directive from Gholam-Hossein Elham, Ahmadinejad’s deputy for human resources in the presidency, Tehran-based newspapers Shargh and Donya-e-Eqtesad said.

The office will be staffed by 25 people, consisting of a director, experts and others in charge of coordination and communication, Donya said. They will plan meetings with officials at home and abroad and with legislative and judicial bodies, it said. The office’s activities may overlap with the new president’s work, Shargh said.

“Iran is a country of second chances,” said Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington in a telephone interview. “It’d be out of character for Ahmadinejad to fade quietly into the woodwork.”

The reports were acknowledged by an official from the presidential office, though he remained vague on the plan.

“In line with the law, the president and his vice president can have personal offices once their term ends,” Hamid Baghaei, the president’s deputy for executive affairs, told reporters today in Tehran, according to the state-run Reporters’ Club.

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“It doesn’t matter where the president will be stationed,” Baghaei said. “It is planned for the president, based on the request he’ll make, to have an office at his disposal so as to carry out his work and resolve issues.”

At the end of his cabinet meeting today, Ahmadinejad answered a reporter’s question on whether he would stay in the presidential office by saying, “I am in the midst of moving back to my previous home” in northeastern Tehran, state-run Fars reported.

Ahmadinejad has fallen out of favor with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s highest authority. Ahmadinejad’s second term, which started in 2009, was fraught with quarrels involving top officials, and a widening circle of critics accused him of careless economic management and reckless rhetoric. During his eight-year presidency, he stoked tensions with the West over Iran’s nuclear program. The United Nations, U.S. and European Union subsequently imposed sanctions.

Former Presidents

Previous ex-presidents have stayed active politically. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was president for two terms from 1989 to 1997, heads the Expediency Council, a political consultative body to resolve disputes between parliament and the 12-man Guardian Council. Rafsanjani, was a presidential candidate in 2005 and 2013.

Mohammad Khatami, president between 1997 to 2005, contemplated running in the 2009 Iranian presidential election before giving his support to the reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi who remains under house arrest. He supported Rohani in 2013 elections.

“Ahmadinejad has some popular support within the country and I’m skeptical that he is a spent force,” Maloney said. “I would not write him off.”

Days ahead of the Aug. 3 inauguration of Rohani, Ahmadinejad has indicated he has plans beyond a smooth handover to the next government, Shargh said.

“Ahmadinejad’s character shows that he isn’t someone who will easily step away from power,” today’s Shargh report quoted Ahmad Khorshidi-Azad, the father of Ahmadinejad’s son-in-law, as having said. “He will do all he can to maintain power.”

Supreme leader commends outgoing president

Monday, July 15th, 2013


Mon, 07/15/2013
Ayatollah Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei met with the outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday and praised the track record of his administration.

Iranian media report that the leader of the Islamic Republic denounced “foreign and domestic media outlets” that are trying to “ignore the accomplishments of this administration.”

He stressed that the “unrelenting industrious efforts” of the Ahmadinejad administration should not be ignored. He commended the current government’s attempts at “bringing forth the mottos of the Revolution within and outside the country.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in 2009 amid great controversy due to allegations of vote fraud. Ayatollah Khamenei backed Ahmadinejad and refused to allow for a recount.

In the past four years, however, even he has found himself in serious dispute with Ahmadinejad. The Ahmadinejad administration is being seriously criticized by senior members of the establishment as the cause of the country’s severe economic decline.

Phil Valentine Show

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Phil Valentine Show

Discussion on Iran’s claim of sabotage by US on its nuclear facilities.

July 10, 2013

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Iran Jewish Leader Says Ahmadinejad Views ‘Smug’

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

 ABC News

TEHRAN, Iran July 10, 2013 (AP)

An Iranian Jewish activist is criticizing outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his remarks hailing his challenges over the extent of the Holocaust.

In rare public outrage by an Iranian Jewish leader, Haroun Yashaei was quoted Wednesday by the pro-reform Shragh newspaper as calling Ahmadinejad’s recent comments “smug” and highly political.

On Sunday, Ahmadinejad boasted that he rattled Western taboos by calling for more historical research into the Nazi atrocities.

Yashaei, who heads the Tehran Jewish community, described Ahmadinejad’s comments as offensive and said Jews were not sent to concentration camps for a “stroll.”

There are about 30,000 Jews in Iran, which sets aside one parliament seat for a Jewish lawmaker.

Ahmadinejad, who leaves office in August, has often denounced Israel and says more non-Western research is needed into the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad boosts maternity leave

Friday, July 5th, 2013


Fri, 07/05/2013

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced increased maternity leave for mothers.

The legislation has been implemented as part of the general policy of encouraging population growth, which the Ahmadinejad adopted in recent years.

The legislation revokes all previous policies aimed at controlling the population and makes a 180-degree turn to now encourage couples to have more children.

An amendment to the earlier legislation now gives mothers nine months of maternity leave, while their spouses get two weeks of mandatory leave.

The legislation was passed on June 10 and approved by the Guardian Council the following week.

Ahmadinejad administration urged to release prisoners

Thursday, July 4th, 2013


Thu, 07/04/2013
Mohammad Khatami

Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has called on the Ahmadinejad administration to make efforts to release political prisoners and leave behind a “positive legacy.”

Speaking to a group of student activists on July 3, Khatami said: “These things have happened during the tenure of this administration whether they wanted it or not. They can make a constructive effort in the remaining time to solve this issue, because asking Mr. Rohani (president-elect) to fix everything is not an easy task.” The reformist candidates in the 2009 election, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, challenged the victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with allegations of vote fraud. They have been under house arrest since 2011. A popular demand from president-elect Hassan Rohani, who is to take over in August, has been to release political prisoners. “We represent the people’s demands and support the mottos of Mr. Rohani’s election campaign,” Khatami said. “We will help to realize them. We need a new approach and hope that there will be no political prisoners anymore. A reform approach will put an end to all incarcerations and house arrests.” In addition to Mehdi Karroubi, MirHosein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard’s house arrest, many government critics have been incarcerated in the past several years. Numerous political activists and journalists are behind bars for their links to the Green Movement that grew out of the 2009 election protests.

Iranian Spokesman Says Comments About Ahmadinejad’s Return Distorted

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad


June 26, 2013

An Iranian government spokesman who was quoted as saying outgoing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad would return with a Shi’ite saint has said his comments were distorted.

Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted by Iranian media on June 24 as saying that Ahmadinejad will return with the Hidden Imam who, according to Shi’ite beliefs, went into hiding in the 10th century and will return one day to bring justice to the Earth.

The comments sparked criticism and condemnation by some lawmakers.

A June 25 statement issued by Elham’s office said the government spokesman had meant the return of Ahmadinejad to political life.

The statement also said that the time for the reappearance of the Hidden Imam cannot be predicted.

Ahmadinejad and his close aides have come under criticism over their repeated references to the Hidden Imam.

Based on reporting by dolat.ir and Mehr

Spokesman Says Iran’s President ‘Will Return With Hidden Imam’

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad during a recent visit to Beijing University.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad during a recent visit to Beijing University.


June 24, 2013

An Iranian government spokesman has said that outgoing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will return with the Hidden Imam, who according to Shi’ite belief went into hiding in the 10th century and will reappear to bring justice to Earth.

“God willing, with the manifestation of Imam Mehdi, Ahmadinejad will also return and work for the establishment of pure Islam,” spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.

Ahmadinejad and his close aides have been criticized in Iran over their repeated references to Mahdi and signs of his imminent coming.

Ahmadinejad came under fire in March for saying that former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will be resurrected alongside Jesus and the Hidden Imam.

Based on reporting by Fars and Etedaal

Ahmadinejad says Iran looking to be major fuel exporter

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

With the opening of more plants, Iran hopes to become a key exporter for vehicle fuels. (File photo: Reuters)

Last Update: Tuesday, 25 June 2013 KSA 17:04 – GMT 14:04


Iran hopes to become a major exporter of vehicle fuels with the opening of more plants after it moved from dependence on imports to self-sufficiency, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a state news agency on Tuesday.

Iran has been forced to increase its refining capacity over the past few years due to Western efforts to prevent it from importing fuel as part of wide-ranging sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear activities.

Refinery capacity expansions and government efforts to curb fuel use have slashed Iran’s imports over the last three years. Around 1.8 million liters a day of additional gasoline production capacity from the Lavan oil refinery, starting this week, should reduce imports further.

“Now we have no need for imports of any petroleum products. Through exploiting the Persian Gulf Star refinery in Bandar Abbas and other development projects we will become a big fuel exporter,” Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state agency IRNA.

“In the past the oil industry was completely dependent and all equipment was imported. Study, exploration and development was also in the hands of others,” he said, marking the inauguration of the upgraded refinery.

According to a report last week by oil ministry news service Shana, the Lavan refinery was able to produce around one million liters a day of gasoline before the expansion.

Further upgrade work at the refinery will also boost its diesel capacity from 1.7m to 4m liters, Shana reported, without giving a timeline for when the extra capacity would be ready.

Iran has rationed gasoline for private motorists since December 2010. Shana said in March that average daily gasoline consumption in Iran averaged around 63m liters.

Iran court summonses Ahmadinejad over Larijani complaint

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on Monday summonsed to appear before the criminal court following a complaint lodged by parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani (File photo: AFP)

Monday, 17 June 2013

AFP, Iran, Tehran

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was on Monday summonsed to appear before the criminal court following a complaint lodged by parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, the government website announced.

The summons orders Ahmadinejad to appear before the court on November 26, website Dolat.ir said.

It said the case arises from “a complaint lodged by Mr Ali Larijani” as well as by a parliamentary commission.

“The charge is not specified in the notice,” the statement said, without elaborating.

Relations between government and parliament soured during the final phase of Ahmadinejad’s eight-year presidency, with bad blood between the two branches spilling into the open in February over the impeachment of a minister.

During the session, squabbling broke out in which Ahmadinejad and Larijani got into verbal fight.

Ahmadinejad will be replaced by Hassan Rowhani as president on August 3 following presidential elections last Friday.

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