Iran President Denies Rift With Leader

BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, under attack from a defiant protest movement that rejects his re-election as fraudulent and from a rising chorus of critics within his own hard-line camp, defended himself on Friday and denied reports that he had fallen out of favor with the country’s supreme leader.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, played down any tensions in a speech in the northeastern city of Mashhad, parts of which were broadcast on state television. He said his relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei “goes beyond politics and administration” and is “like that of a father and son.”

To some extent, the dispute has reflected a power struggle among conservative politicians. Mr. Ahmadinejad has struggled to show confidence, and his rivals, who have often sparred with him over the past four years, sense that the president is vulnerable in the post-election chaos and are hoping to weaken him. But the president may have gone too far in his response to a command from Ayatollah Khamenei to >>>

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