The conflict between different factions of the conservative camp in Iran has recently escalated with a series of incriminations exchanged between the president and supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Mojtaba Khamenei, son of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of embezzling from the state treasury, the reformist website Jras reported.
Ahmadinejad’s statements, attributed to insider sources, coincided with a report by the French newspaper Libération that tackled the issue of Mojtaba’s bank accounts abroad. According to the report, documents at the Iranian Ministry of Security prove that Khamenei junior has recently withdrawn all his money from foreign banks.
The Iranian president’s accusations, observers argue, indicate his refusal to become the scapegoat in the conflict currently going on between different parties in the conservative clique.
The accusations, in fact, came in response to attempts by the president’s opponents to lash out at him through tarnishing the image of his closest aides like his advisor and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei and whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad’s son.
According to Jras, a delegation comprised of Deputy Judiciary Chief Ibrahim Raeisi, Minister of Intelligence and National Security Heydar Moslehi, and head of the General Inspection Organization Mostafa Pur-Mohammadi, all known to be pro-Khamenei, met with Ahmadinejad and demanded that he dismisses Mashaei.
Mashaei, they argued, is accused of embezzling two billion U.S. dollars and has to be put on trial.
“I do not mind,” Ahmadinejad is reported to have said. “But in this case we will need to investigate all embezzlement cases.”
Ahmadinejad added that he has documents which prove that Mojataba Khamenei has also embezzled what he sarcastically referred to as a “meager sum” and which amounts to one billion and 600,000 Euros.
“If you are willing to open both files together, I will dismiss Mashaei from office now,” he told members of the delegation.
The embezzlement chargers are not the first to be leveled against the supreme leader’s son for he was earlier accused of taking part in the violent repression of opposition figures.
In addition, Wiki Leaks has it that Mojtaba Khamenei is now being groomed to succeed his father and become Iran’s next supreme leader.
The bequest of power scenario had already surfaced in the 2009 protests that followed the controversial presidential elections which gave Ahmadinejad another term in office. The protests saw slogans that condemned Khamenei’s plans to bequeath power to his son, the most famous of which was “May you die, Mojatab, before you become leader!”
Iranian reformist politician and member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was arrested immediately after the elections, accused Mojtaba Khamenei of persecuting him and his wife.
During the 2005 presidential elections, reformist presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi accused Mojtaba Khamenei of rigging the results in favor of Ahmadinejad back at the time when the two were united to face the threat of the reformist camp.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)