Reports: Ahmadinejad's Ally Held In Iran On Corruption Charges

(RTTNews) - A close ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested on corruption charges, the Iranian state television reported on Thursday.

Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh was detained over "financial corruption" allegations. The judiciary is yet to issue a formal statement on his arrest.

The development follows Malekzadeh's resignation as Deputy Foreign Minister just days after he was appointed to the post. Conservative lawmakers had earlier threatened to impeach Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi if Malekzadeh was not removed from the post.

His resignation earlier this week was forced by pressure from Islamist hard-liners, who believe he was actively involved in a movement trying to compromise revolutionary values and weaken the role of the clergy in Iranian politics.

Malekzadeh is also said to be a close ally of the President's Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei who the hard-liners describe as the head of a "deviant current" in the inner circle of the President attempting to undermine the powers of the Iranian clergy.

But, Ahmadinejad has so far defended Malekzadeh, whose daughter is married to the President's son. Analysts say Ahmadinejad appears to be promoting Mashaei to succeed him as the next Iranian President when Iran goes to presidential polls in 2013.

Reports from Iran also indicate that at least 25 close associates of Ahmadinejad and Mashaei have been arrested in recent weeks on various charges. The de... >>>

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