Ahmadinejad names controversial aide Mideast envoy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defied calls to fire one of his closest aides and appointed him envoy to the Middle East instead.

Ahmadinejad names controversial aide Mideast envoy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defied calls to fire one of his closest aides and appointed him envoy to the Middle East instead.

Media reported on Monday that Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, the target of frequent criticism from inside the establishment since he became chief of staff last year, was taking one of four new foreign policy posts.

News of the appointment came a day after Ahmadinejad and the head of parliament met and said they would put aside differences.

"We are all one family and have one big mission. Administering the country is the focal point," Ahmadinejad said.

Rahim-Mashaie, whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad's son.

Earlier this month when Mashaie publicly upheld the idea of an "Iranian school" of Islam, which many religious conservatives considered highly controversial.

A senior cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, accused him of "pagan nationalism" and some 200 members of parliament signed a letter of complaint to Ahmadinejad.

"The least we expected from Mr Ahmadinejad was to fire Rahim-Mashaie," said another veteran cleric, Abdonabi Namazi.

While remaining chief of staff, Masahaie's new role will be to counter the "domineering powers" that want to "preserve the status and existence of the Zionist regime (Israel)," according to a presidential decree published in Arman newspaper.

As well as naming a Middle East envoy, Ahmadinejad appointed three other allies into similar roles covering Afghanistan, Asia and the Caspian Sea area, showing his desire to improve relations in the region.

Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2010, 17:34
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