For the second time, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was denied a visit to Evin Prison by Iran’s judicial authorities, a sign that reflects the president’s waning power during his last year in office.
Ahmadinejad’s request to visit Evin prison, where his top media advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr is serving time, was seen as linked to his press advisor’s detention.
Javanfekr, who was also the head of the country’s state news agency IRNA, was sent to Evin in September to serve a six-month sentence for publishing an article deemed offensive to public decency.
The judiciary turned down Ahmadinejad’s first request to visit on Sunday, saying it was not in Iran’s best interests for him to spend time on such a visit at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis. Ahmadinejad replied accusing the judiciary of unconstitutional conduct.
“Taking into account the recent letter and circumstances, on no account will a visit to Evin prison be allowed without coordination,” Sadeq Larijani, the head of the judiciary, said on Wednesday, Iran’s student news agency reported.
“The notion that the president has the right to supervise other powers (the judiciary) is completely false,” he said.
Ahmadinejad’s influence within Iran’s factionalized power structure has weakened since a bitter feud erupted in public in 2011 over the supreme clerical leader’s reinstatement of the intelligence minister whom Ahmadinejad had sacked.
The president is also facing growing criticism for exacerbating harsh Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program with misguided economic policies.
In the coming weeks, he may be summoned before hostile MPs for the second time this year to again explain his performance.