Paris, 19 Aug. (IPS) As days passes, pressures increases on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to kick out Mr. Esfandiar Rahim Masha’i, his deputy in charge of tourism and cultural heritage for having dared to say “Iran is not enemy of the Israel people”.
Not only the fanatic President has resisted single handedly all the pressures, but in a sign of defiance, he took Mr. Rahim Masha’i on board during his recent visit to Turkey and then was pictured with him at the launch of an Iranian missile capable of placing a satellite in space.
Not only the fanatic President has resisted single handedly all the pressures, but in a sign of defiance, he took Mr. Rahim Masha’i on board during his recent visit to Turkey
When Mr. Rahim Masha’i made his first comment on 19 July, saying “Not only we have no enemy, but we are friends with the American people, with the Israeli people, and we are proud that we are friendly with all the nations in the world”, his remarks curiously drew no criticism, particularly because it came at the height of verbal and psychological war between Iran and Israel in the one hand at were in sharp contrast to the President’s vituperations about “eradicating Israel from the map of the world”.
However, after first attacks started to come, the vice president corrected himself, saying that the media had not reported correctly his declaration, adding that by Israel people he meant the Palestinians and certainly not the “Zionists who usurped the land of the Palestinians”.
The case could have been closed here and his remarks accepted if he would not have confirmed and repeated his first statement, saying: “I would say and repeat thousands of time that we are friends of al people in the world, including the Israeli and the American peoples, that we have no enemies and we are proud of it”.
This time, the glass was too full. Strong reactions rained from all fronts, political, religious, military, and of course, the radical media led, as usual, by the daily Keyhan, considered as one of the mouthpieces of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the Iranian leader.
As Ayatollah Nouri Hamedani, a senior pro-Government cleric in the city of Qom refused to receive the culprit, Keyhan urged the President to fire Mr. Rahim Masha’I, “without further delay, or he would pay a heavy price by losing his popularity among the people”.
Keyhan warned the President that not removing Rahim Masha'i would cost him too much.
In an article entitled “Friend’s Expectations”, Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, the official interrogator of dissident politicians, journalists and intellectuals, appointed by Mr. Khameneh’i as Editor in chief of Keyhan wrote on 16 August: “The logical expectation of the people from the President was that he immediately fire the vice president who made declarations that goes directly against the guidelines established by the late Imam and his legitimate successor, the Great Leader Ayatollah Khameneh’i, both of them ruling that all the Zionists in the occupied land are usurpers, bandits, soldiers at the mercy of Zionism. But unfortunately, the President has failed to respond to the wishes of the people. It is time to correct that fault without delay”,
Reminding that the President “is quick to change ministers”, the paper “regretted” that Mr. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by his vice-president in his visit to Turkey and was seen next to him at the missile launch, warned that “if the President continues to keep Mr. Rahim Masha’i, he would shot himself in the leg and would cost his popularity among the people”
Mr. Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Majles (Iranian Parliament) was one of the first personalities to openly criticise Mr. Rahim Masha’i, saying his remarks |does not correspond with the policy of the nation and the wishes of the people”.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, one of the “provisory” Friday Preachers of Tehran was more open and stronger in attacking the vice-president, calling publicly for his resignation from the Government.
Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, another high-ranking cleric went even further and said what the vice-president has said about the friendship of Iranian people with the Israeli people was “against Koran”, the Muslim holly book, and urged the clerical corps of the nation to join him in condemning Mr. Rahim Masha’i.
Ahmadinejad is quite a character. He is very stubborn. He does not listen to anyone and do not like to be seen kneeling in front of anyone but the Leader
Entering the arena, The Revolutionary Guards, the ruling ayatollahs Praetorian Guard expressed same “regrets” and voiced same “warnings” as Keyhan, observing, in an article from the Guard’s political bureau that “the nation and certainly the Revolutionary Guards could not close their eyes on a declaration that humiliates the proud of the Iranian people in fighting the thieves and the killers who have occupied Palestine. What is more regretful is that the official who has made such a strategic mistake is a deputy to the President, a figure of the principalists”.
In the footpath of their Speaker, 200 lawmakers, in a petition, called on Mr. Ahmadinejad to announce publicly the dismissal of his deputy for Tourism and Cultural Heritage and said “contrary to what Mr. Rahim Masha’i has said, the great majority of the Iranians are against the Zionist Entity (Israel) and considers the zionists there as soldiers of that State that kills innocent Palestinian people, the legitimate owners of that sacred land”.
While same kind of petition was signed by hundreds basiji (pro-Government volunteer), some circles around the President, fearing that the stubbornness shown by the President in his defence of Mr. Rahim Masha’i could backfire during the next president elections, are also urging him to fire the “provocateur”.
According to some political analysts, what brings Mr. Ahmadinejad to stand firm to the storm that blows on all fronts is not the close family relationship that links him to Mr. Rahim Masha’i (the son of Mr. Ahmadinejad has recently married with the daughter of Mr. Rahim Masha’i), but his desire to show he is the boss and no one can dictate to him what he must do or not”.
“Ahmadinejad is quite a character. He is very stubborn. He does not listen to anyone and do not like to be seen kneeling in front of anyone but the Leader, who has the power of dismiss him”, explained a source in the presidency, adding “If Mr. Khameneh’I do not take side against the vice-president, for sure, the President would remove Mr. Rahim Masha’i, but would immediately give him another responsibility, maybe even more important that the job he has now”. ENDS RAHIM MASHAI 19808