Publication Calls for Arrest of President’s Closest Political Aide

A hard-line publication called on security forces on Wednesday to arrest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s closest political aide amid a widening political power struggle. The demand by the weekly Ya Lesarat, which is considered close to some of Iran’s most extremist factions, reflects the fierce internal battles between Mr. Ahmadinejad and ultraconservative groups that accuse him of trying to defy the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. The hard-line weekly urged the arrest of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei, above, calling him a “very dangerous person who is propping up a new cult” — a reference to accusations that Mr. Mashaei seeks to undermine the ruling system in place since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mr. Mashaei is also despised by hard-liners for views that include suggesting Iran can oppose Israel’s government but can be friendly with the Israeli people.
The authorities have arrested up to 25 people loyal to Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Mashaei in recent weeks, including Kazem Kiapasha, a close Mashaei ally. The crisis began last month after Mr. Ahmadinejad forced out his powerful intelligence chief, Heidar Moslehi, as part of an internal dispute. But Ayatollah Khamenei promptly reinstated Mr. Moslehi in a public slap to Mr. Ahmadinejad, who boycotted cabinet meetings for 10 days before finally giving in to the cleric’s order.


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