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Iran's Ahmadinejad denies rift with supreme leader

Iran Materials 16 May 2011 04:25
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday rejected speculation that he had any differences with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dpa reported.
Iran's Ahmadinejad denies rift with supreme leader

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday rejected speculation that he had any differences with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dpa reported.

In an interview on state television, the president made no mention of the main source of such speculation: the dismissal of Iranian intelligence chief Heydar Moslehi, which Khamenei vetoed and eventually blocked.

"My relationship with the leader is not only upon belief but also personal - he is like a father to me," Ahmadinejad said.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran has been ruled under the Vali Faqih system, in which one senior cleric at ayatollah level has, according to the constitution, the final say on all state affairs and can even veto decisions by the president.

Ahmadinejad was criticized by several clergy circles for allegedly having disobeyed Khamenei's order to reinstate the intelligence chief.

"Our system is based on the Vali Faqih system," Ahmadinejad said. "But just as the people need the leader, the leader also needs (the elected government of the) people."

Ahmadinejad also dismissed speculation of a crisis in the cabinet following the dismissals of the ministers of oil, social welfare and industry.

"For years we plan to trim down the cabinet from 21 ministries to 17, which is also one the main aims of the latest five-year development plan," Ahmadinejad said.

One of the ministries to be abolished is apparently also the Oil Ministry, which Ahmadinejad said he would administer until the oil and energy ministries are merged. Oil is Iran's main source of income and provides more than 75 per cent of annual revenues.

Ahmadinejad's plan to trim the cabinet has faced criticism in the Parliament, but he insists on decreasing the number of ministries to 17.

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