NCRI – A state-run news agency in Iran reported on Sunday (Feb. 10) that about 100 Ahmadinejad supporters attacked Ali Larijani, the speaker of Parliament and a Qom representative as he was speaking in Qom to mark the 34th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution.
Bitter internal feuding between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the speaker of the Iranian parliament is escalating ahead of the regime’s presidential elections in June this year.
The infighting began when the parliament impeached and removed President Ahmadinajad’s labour and social affairs minister from office.
On the day – February 3 – now known as “black Sunday”, the president hit back by screening a video about the speaker Ali Larijani’s family, who are legislative and judiciary heads, accusing them of corruption, bribery and nepotism.
Larijani responded by branding Ahmadinejad an ‘immoral mafia-like gangster’, and then had the president’s ally and former Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi arrested for two days.
The feud was triggered by Ahmadinejad’s insistance that Mortazavi, a henchman implicated in the murder Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi, be made head of the Social Security Investment Company – a vast umbrella company controlling industries including shipping, chemicals, construction, transport and is also the main shareholder in the Prosperity Bank.
Larijani and his supporters strongly opposed the appointment of Mortazavi as the powerful boss of the SSIC, which owns one fifth of all stocks traded in Iran.
The video Ahmadinejad showed to MPs claimed that Larijani’s youngest brother Fazel Larijani tried to extort money from Saeed Mortazavi over the SSIC post, which they said he was only getting with the backing of Dubai-based billionaire Babak Zanjani – known as Mr Z – and the head of the Gulf state’s Surint International.
Fazel told Mortazavi he needed to cut his brother Ali and Sadeq Larijani on a share of the cash he would earn from his deal with Zanjani.
Zanjani and 18 companies with roles in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities were all placed on the European Union’s sanctions list in December last year.
The EU described Zanjani as a ‘key mediator in Iran’s oil trade and transfer of oil money to Iran’ and said the First Islamic Bank in Malaysia and 65 other companies belonging to him were all used to transfer oil payments to Iran.
Another player in the deal to get Mortazavi made boss of the SSIC was his and Zanjani’s mutual friend Seyd Hassan Mirkazemi – a government spy now promoted to the head of the Iranian regime’s mafia for his role in helping to suppress to the 2009 popular uprisings.
He has run up a vast 220 billion rials debt to the Bank of Agriculture, and is also director of several factories including Donyaye Felez, Parsian Felez of Alborz and Lohe Feshordeh Pars.
But the feud now seems to have a serious impact on the authority of supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who is being seen as weak for not clamping down on people openly named as traitors.
Mullahs in Qom are said to have observed that Khamenei’s words used to carry weight for three months, but now people take note of what he says ‘for barely an hour’.
Two grand Ayatollahs, including Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, have been quoted as saying that Khamenei does not now have the competency to run the country if he can not stop infighting between two of the three branches of government.
One of Khamenei’s cultural representatives is reported as saying: “This feuding has been very damaging for Khamenei. There is now talk in Qom neither the government of parliament pay any attention to what the supreme leader says.”
Mullah Mojtaba Zolnour, Khamenei’s adviser and his representative to IRGC, added: “The heads of the parliament and givernment have thrown the dignity of the Islamic system to the wind.
“Their fighting has injured the supreme leader, hurt the friends of the Islamic Republic and fed the foreign media with bad news on the eve of presidential elections.”
Mullah Haji Sadeghi, deputy of Mullah Ali Saidi, Khamenei’s representative in the IRGC Revolutionary Guards, said: “It was hard to watch what happened in parliament, which showed utter neglect of our leader’s wishes.
“The heads of government and parliament are expected to strive to implement supreme leader’s policy. We must at least thank them for maintaining their unity on the labor minister’s impeachment in parliament on Sunday!”
Brigadier General Naghdi, head of Basijis paramilitary, said the feud had ‘violated clerical religious duty’.
And Brigadier General Hamid Reza Moghadamfar, social and cultural deputy of the IRGC, said: “The fight between government and parliament was one of the worst days of revolution because it made our enemy happy.”