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Ahmadinejad's family dispute over Iran elections

Father disowns son-in-law for defending president

The unrest that has rocked Iran since the June 12 election has been broadcast across the world but another fight is taking place and has received little media attention as it is an internal dispute between members of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's family.

Ahmadinejad's son-in-law, Mehdi Khurshidi Azad, has been disowned by his father because he lashed out at him in defense of the incumbent's re-election.

"From now on, I have no son called Mehdi," said Ahmed Khurshidi Azad. "Thanks Mr. Ahmadinejad. I gave you a decent son and you gave me back someone who doesn't hesitate to hurl accusations at anyone including his own father."

Family divisions

The problem came about when Azad, who heads the Association of Islamic Revolution Loyalists that includes veterans of the Iran-Iraq war, told the Etemad-e-Melli newspaper he had voted for conservative candidate Mohsen Rezaei.

Azad also questioned the transparency of the 2005 elections, which brought Ahmadinejad to power for the first time.

Shortly after Azad's comments were published, Mehdi defended his father-in-law, Ahmadinejad, and told the semi-official Fars News agency that his father was being egged-on by other people, who he didn’t name.

"Some people try to take advantage of the divisions within the president's family to serve their own agenda," he said. "My dad's statements were personal."

Thanks Mr. Ahmadinejad. I gave you a decent son and you gave me back someone who doesn't hesitate to hurl accusations at anyone including his own father

Ahmed Khurshidi Azad

Breaking silence

Azad did not respond to his son's comments right away, but 22 days later and after Iran's worst unrest since the 1979 revolution broke out he told Etemad-e-Melli: "As a citizen, I expressed my point of view about Ahmadinejad. Unfortunately, my son responded in this way the next day."

Azad accused the Islamic Republic's government of lashing out at anyone that criticizes it and said they have been doing so for the past four years -- since Ahmadinejad came to power.

"They have done everything they can to morally assassinate me. In case this crosses the line, I will reveal documents and evidence that will expose them and show the people how the authorities treat someone who fought for the revolution and who was injured in the Iran-Iraq war."

Azad said he believed his son's behavior was against the teachings of Islam, which promotes respect for one's parents, and accused the regime of being ungrateful to those who fought for the country.

"You are what you are because our blood was shed. At least you should respect that," he concluded.

They have done everything they can to morally assassinate me. In case this crosses the line, I will reveal documents and evidence that will expose them and show the people how the authorities treat someone who fought for the revolution and who was injured in the Iran-Iraq war

Ahmed Khurshidi Azad

Jewish links

In the same vein, Ayatollah Khazali, a leading supporter of Ahmadinejad, disowned his son Mehdi for statements he made on his website claiming that the Iranian president was of Jewish descent.

Mehdi Khazali wrote on his blog that Ahmadinejad changed his name from Saburjian to hide his Jewish roots and said the president verbally blasts Jews and Israelis and displays over the top zealousness towards Islam for the same reason.

Khazali the son was later arrested by the Iranian authorities both for slandering the president and for taking part in pro-reform street protests.



(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)