Ahmadinejad denies rift with "father-figure" Khamenei

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Jerusalem, Aug. 1 (ANI): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied reports of a rift between him and the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying that their relationship was "like that of a father and son."

"Some in recent days have portrayed the relationship between the leader and the administration as in doubt, they tried to imply distance and rift," The Jerusalem Post quoted him, as saying.

"What they do not understand is that the relationship between us and the supreme leader goes beyond politics and administration. It is based on kindness, on ideology, it is like that of a father and son," Ahmadinejad clarified in televised speech.

The attempts by "ill-wishers" will not yield results, he said, adding, "this path with be shut in the face of devils."

Recently, conservatives had criticised Ahmedinejad for defying Ayatollah Khamenei over his choice of a deputy.

Hard-liners have repeatedly warned Ahmadinejad will have to follow Khamenei, who stands at the top of Iran's clerical leadership and has the final word on all state issues.

In the past, Ahmadinejad had differences with fellow conservatives, who blame him for giving top posts to close associates rather than spreading out power among the camp's factions.

The fight over Mashai could point to an attempt by hard-liners to dictate the makeup of Ahmadinejad's new government.

"Before naming individuals for ministries, the government and parliament must coordinate," said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a senior ultra-conservative cleric.

He sharply criticized Ahmadinejad's firing this week of his intelligence minister, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi, apparently in part because of Ejehi's opposition to Mashai.

"I am saying this in a friendly manner. The appointments and dismissals indeed caused an outcry from the people. The sudden dismissal of a veteran and competent minister is not correct. It is not possible to defend this sort of activities," he added. (ANI)

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