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Ahmadinejad 'to expose Khamenei in fraud row'

Tehran, November 4, 2011

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused the son of the country's supreme leader of playing a key role in trying to pin a $2.6 billion banking fraud on his government.

He has also threatened to expose the complete truth behind the fraud, the country's largest.

Ahmadinejad said Mojtaba Khamenei teamed up with parliament and judicial authorities to accuse his government of embezzling the funds to remove him from office, according to Al Arabiya TV.

Mojtaba is the son of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has recently hinted that he may abolish the presidency altogether, replacing it with an honorary post elected by members of parliament rather than directly by the people.

The feud between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei is becoming increasingly bitter and public, with months of simmering mistrust boiling over in April when Ahmadinejad sacked Heydar Moslehi, the intelligence minister, only to see him promptly reinstated by the supreme leader.

The president was called before parliament to face questions over the affair on Tuesday.

Forged documents, it is said, were used to get loans from seven Iranian banks and the money used to buy stakes in state-owned companies.

Loyalists of Khamenei want to pin the scandal on Ahmadinejad's friends and lay the blame for Iran's drooping economy at the president's door, according to the president's loyalists.

Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini narrowly survived an impeachment vote by MPs during Tuesday's parliament session over the fraud.

Khamenei's supporters are baying for the president's blood but the supreme leader is wary of delivering the coup de gr‰ce; he is meant to be above petty politics. He looked weak when his endorsement failed to win Ahmadinejad the presidential election in 2009 fair and square. Instead, he was obliged to order a harsh crackdown to crush the thwarted opposition.

Discarding the president two years later might further undermine Khamenei's position. But the banking scandal may present him with an irresistible chance to sack Ahmadinejad while maintaining the moral high ground.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Ahmadinejad | Iranian President | fraud row | Mojtaba Khamenei |

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