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Iran: Islamist bloggers divided over Ahmadinejad-Khamenei rift

It appears from Iranian Islamist blogs that the honeymoon between Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Republic's Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is finally over. Some reject Ahmadinejad in favor of the Supreme Leader while others show unwavering support for Ahmadinejad.

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad in happier times

Khamenei (left) and Ahmadinejad in happier times

It all started when President Ahmadinejad accepted the resignation of the Iranian Minister of Intelligence, Heydar Moslehi, on April 18, 2011. Only few hours earlier, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff, Esfandyar Rahim Mashai, had “criticized the intelligence minister without directly naming him,” according to PBS's Tehran Bureau. Meanwhile, it was rumored that Khamenei had demanded that the minister should remain in his post. Several Iranian websites posted a letter from Ali Khamenei on this issue as “proof”.

Ahestan, an Islamist blogger writes [fa] on the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad face off:

I don't know, I am neither an Ahmadinejad supporter [in Persian, supporters of the president call themselves Ahmadinejadi] nor his enemy. He is just a president with many advantages and disadvantages… I have learned not to have absolute belief in anybody, especially in the world of politics.

Ahestan considers that Ahmadinejad's attitude has had a negative impact on Hezbollah youth in Iran when it comes to following high-ranking clerics.

When Ahmadinejad came to power six years ago we started to breathe again after eight years, or even 16 years. We owe him that victory and it was for that reason we called ourselves Ahmadinejadi. But he did not pay attention to the Ulmas, high ranking clerics, and the gap between him and them became wider, despite the Supreme Leader's advice that respect for the high ranking clerics is important. Today, real Ahmadinejadis are suspicious about everything, and do not respect the clerics and their opinions.

Another Iranian blogger, Mahtab Tabatabi writes [fa]:

What happened that our Imam Khamenei was obliged to write his order as a letter? Does it mean that nobody listened to him? God knows how many times during the last seven years Ahmadinejad has not obeyed Khamenei's in the name of Islam and the regime?… Hezbollah should know what the Leader wants, and if Ahmadinejad disobeys, they should act differently in regards to him.

Mashai, Ahmadinejad's chief of staff was also singled out for criticism. He has previously been a target over the past years, including for comments on Israel and Iran's history.

Khate Enghelab writes [fa]:

Ahmadinejad betrayed our votes. Instead of talking about “Economic Jihad” [Khamenei urged for this on the Iranian new year] we talk about Mashai [Ahmadinejad's chief of staff]. Several ministers were fired because of him. If Ahmadinejad had listened to the Leader and dismissed him, we would not be in this situation at present.

But it seems Ahmadinejad does not stand alone in the cyberworld. In a letter published on Aeennews [fa], a pro-Ahmadinejad website, a group of “bloggers and journalists from Fars province” declare their support for the Iranian president. They hail him as a “true supporter of the oppressed” and threaten to destroy all his enemies.

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