Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ahmadinejad in Dire Straits

Sat Apr 26

TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran's judiciary chief has become the latest figure to criticise President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his attacks on opponents, accusing him of "exaggeration and sloganeering," reports said on Saturday.

The comments by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi come just over week after Ahmadinejad launched his most bitter attack yet on his rivals, accusing them of forming mafias of political and economic corruption.
The president's accusations, made in a speech in the clerical city of Qom, unleashed new controversy and the heads of two judiciary bodies have already denounced his comments as lacking any factual basis.
"Fighting economic corruption is a fundamental factor in making society healthy," said Shahroudi, in comments reported by much of the Iranian press including the Tehran daily Hamshahri.
"But if instead of using legitimate procedures one falls into exaggeration, unrealistic campaigning and sloganeering, then
this fundamental factor will be forgotten," he said, in a reference to Ahmadinejad's speech.
"And therefore it becomes an instrument to be used to sideline rivals."
Shahroudi, who is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and is renowned for his knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), seldom speaks out on political issues.
His last such intervention was in August 2007, when he vehemently criticised Ahmadinejad's mass changing of mid-ranking managers.
In his angry Qom speech on April 16, Ahmadinejad lashed out at a judiciary body and also accused an unnamed leading Iranian official of managing a huge cigarette-smuggling racket.
"I will go to the end to change and uproot all these corrupt people or who show a lack of determination. I fear nothing," Ahmadinejad said.
In the aftermath of the speech, the president also became embroiled in a bitter public row with parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel over the implementation of legislation.
He then sacked his economy minister, who hit back with an angry attack accusing the president of busying himself with peripheral issues. Three leading ayatollahs have also criticised Ahmadinejad's economic policies.


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