Ahmadinejad Allies Arrested for Sorcery: Djinns & the Hidden Imam
Ahmadinejad vs Khamenei: Sorcery Arrests in Iran: Summoning Djinns
A feud between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has escalated after a battle over Ahmadinejad's firing of Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi, which Khamenei overruled.
Ahmadinejad responded by boycotting cabinet meetings for over a week.
The flashpoint for the dispute is the growing influence of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, who has been making overtures to the West and is likely to be Ahmadinejad's successor. The Ayatollah believes that Mashaei is jockeying for more power, including the post of Intelligence Minister, and that Mashaei is in fact propping up Ahmadinejad.
This threatens the religious apparatus: Mashaei has long championed the concept of "Islam without clerics". Now some of Mashaei's aides have been arrested for sorcery, and are accused of invoking djinns. Yes, we're talking about genies.
One of the arrests, Abbas Ghaffari, was described by an Iranian state news agency as "a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds". This is a demonstration of power by the Ayatollah: Iran is a religious state, and disobeying the supreme religious leader is against the law, regardless of window dressing like having a president and cabinet.
While Ahmadinejad had agreed to return to cabinet meetings, he will not accept the reinstatement of Moslehi, and Ayatollah Khamenei made it clear that Ahmadinejad's job was on the line.
The Hidden Imam Mahdi
A documentary about The Hidden Imam Mahdi, with which Ahmadinejad is obsessed, was released, much to the anger of the religious right. The return of the Hidden Imam Mahdi is analogous to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christianity, and is a core tenet in Shia Islam.
Learn more about The Hidden Imam here, but the very short version is that Allah hid Mahdi away from humanity since 874AD, and is waiting to return him to the world stage to lead the world's people. The Ayatollah thinks that Ahmadinejad and Mashaei were somehow behind the release of the film, and that it's an attempt to wrest popular support away from the clerics.
Do the ruling clerics really believe that cabinet aides are summoning genies? Doubtful- this is a demonstration of who wields the true power in Iran. However, recent events across the Middle East and North Africa have proven that the citizens themselves may soon get other ideas, and reform-minded unrest has been growing in Iran for some time.