Khamenei’s Clique Accuses Ahmadinejad of Plotting a Coup

Monday, May 9, the Iranian president's office released idyllic photos of an amicable cabinet meeting in Tehran. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's strike over being forced to reinstate the intelligence minister he fired was apparently at an end. He and the minister appeared together and the president stressed the importance of obedience to the Supreme Leader, thereby ending their spat, the first at this level since Iran's 1979 Shiite revolution.
But the feud is still simmering and even escalating. Ahmadinejad treats government institutions and the legislature (Majlis) with even greater scorn than before and the mouthpieces of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei level ever more serious charges against the president and his henchmen.
On Wednesday, May 11, Tehran was full of a rumor that Ahmadinejad was in the last stages of a conspiracy to overthrow the Supreme Leader. It appeared to have originated in Khamenei's own office, supported by the allegation that the president was secretly bidding for support for the said conspiracy among heads of the Revolutionary Guards Corps – IRGC.
No coup in the Islamic Republic of Iran has any chance of success without massive IRGC backing, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Iranian sources stress.
Ayatollah Khamenei was fired up anew, say those sources, by the president's reorganization of the cabinet departments in such a way as to reduce the number of ministers.

Khamenei also accuses Ahmadinejad of underhand dealings with the West

The reshuffle took the form of mergers between the Oil and Energy Ministries; the Industry and Mines Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce; between the Roads and Transportation Ministry and the Housing and Urban Development Ministry; and Welfare and Social Security with Labor and Social Affairs.
The ministers who found themselves out of jobs were all suspected of insufficient loyalty to the president. Khamenei, for his part, suspected Ahmadinejad of arranging the reshuffle to settle accounts with him over having to reinstate the intelligence minister against his will.
Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Majlis, accused Ahmadinejad of "disparaging the legislative authority" by making cabinet changes without its approval and demanded their annulment. But the president rejected this demand.
Wednesday, Ahmad Mir-Motahari, a prominent Iranian economist, called the merger of the Oil and Energy Ministries "an economic disaster."
That day too the lead article in the main Iranian newspaper Kayhan, which speaks for the Supreme Leader's Office, added more fuel to the dispute by accusing Ahmadinejad's aides of maintaining "deviant" clandestine ties with the West, especially the United States.
The president's enemies have already accused him of underhand contacts with Americans and of offering to trade flexibility on Iran's nuclear and missile programs for US support in his dispute with Khamenei's faction. Kayhan has in the past included Esfandyar Rahim Mashaee, the president's father-in-law and his closest confidant, in these allegations.

Ahmadinehad is accused of sedition and sorcery

Thursday, May 12, high-placed Iranian quarters confirmed to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources that Ahmadinejad's representatives were indeed holding secret talks with the West and had in fact put back on the table the enriched uranium swap deal previously rejected by Tehran, whereby Iran would hand over two-thirds of the 3.5% enriched uranium in its possession in return for 19.75% enriched uranium for use in its research reactor.
The West ought to find this proposition attractive because it would take out of Iranian hands a large quantity of low-enriched uranium that could be used for making their first nuclear bomb. According to those sources, Ahmadinejad hopes this offer will win him international sympathy, especially in Washington.
Our Iranian sources disclose that the Iranian president experienced a change of perception under the influence of the bloody uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. He has come to believe that conservative Islamic norms have had their day and, with the help of Rahim-Mashaee, is trying to promote his new version of "modern Iranian Islam,' which draws on ancient Persian culture.
In internal exchanges of correspondence among high-ranking clerics in Tehran, Ahmadinejad is accused of sedition in the name of Islam and aligning with the enemy.
The Khamenei faction reserves special contempt for Rahim-Mashaee. It is mutual. In April, the Supreme Leader barred his appointment as deputy president. For five days, Ahmadinejad ignored the ban and eventually got around it by appointing his in-law bureau chief. He plans to run Rahim-Mashaee in the presidential election in 18 months.
Asked whether he fears Khamenei obstructing his candidacy, Rahim-Mashaee is recorded as replying that he has no fear because Khamenei "is terminally ill and will die before the elections are held."
The Supreme Leader's followers have hit back by accusing the would-be president of sorcery and by throwing members of his faction into prison as "exorcists."
This charge has been extended to Ahmadinejad's followers and is punishable by death.

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