Despite Protests, Ahmadinejad Consolidates Grip on Power

Last week, even before he was officially endorsed as the winner of Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad quietly assigned himself new powers by taking direct control of the country’s intelligence ministry.

According to a report published on the English-language Web site of Iran’s Parliament on Saturday, after Mr. Ahmadinejad fired the previous minister, Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ejei, he appointed himself “caretaker minister.”

Even if he does not intend to hold on to the position, Mr. Ahmadinejad is in direct control of the intelligence ministry at a sensitive moment, as the regime attempts to convict leading members of the opposition that it has charged with conspiring to overthrow the government on behalf of foreign powers.

The report notes that a conservative legislator called the move illegal:

The president’s decision to act as the caretaker until a new cabinet is formed threw the country’s polity into confusion.

Ahmad Tavakkoli, a senior Principlist representative from Tehran in the Majlis (Iran’s parliament), accused the president of breaking the law. “By law, the caretaker of the… >>>

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