Iran's Supreme leader Khamenei defends Ahmadinejad
Today, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed President President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against growing criticism from Conservative and Reformists amid an electoral atmosphere. This time the cause of criticism, it is not the economy or the nuclear file issue but the Ahmadinejad endorsing of remarks made by one of his closest aides over friendship with the Israeli people. Few days ago, the vice-president for tourism, Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, said "Iranians were friends with Israelis". This remarks created havoc among various sectors of the political spectrum but President Ahmadinejad. Now, with the backing of the Supreme Leader, three new facts emerge. First, the satisfaction of Khamenei with the possible second term of Ahmadinejad in office. Such backing was rumoured few weeks ago but then denied by the Supreme Leader web page. Second, a growing shift in tone over Israeli people. As negotiations between Syria and Israel are pending for the formation of a new government in Tel Aviv, the softer Iranian approach makes newer sense during electoral times. Third, President Ahmadinejad will speak again at the UN General Assembly. Making a distinction between Israeli people and its government makes a bigger difference when attacking Zionism.
© AP 2008-09-19 13:18:00 - TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's top leader is defending hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against growing criticism. During Friday prayers, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced politicians who have been critical of Ahmadinejad. Both conservatives and reformists have stepped up their criticism of Ahmadinejad in recent months. They accuse him of doing more harm than good in his three years in office. Ahmadinejad has come under increasing pressure lately because he is refusing to dismiss Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai who said Iranians were friends with Israelis.
Iranian lawmakers have been collecting signatures over the past week to question Ahmadinejad over Mashi's controversial comments.