Ahmadinejad and Iran’s judiciary chief trade accusations

Verbal clashes between former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and conservative judiciary chief Sadegh Amoli Ayatollah Larijani are reaching new heights.

al-monitor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at United Nations headquarters, New York, May 3, 2010. Photo by REUTERS/Chip East.

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resignation, hamid baghaei, iranian politics, judiciary, mahmoud ahmadinejad

Dec 19, 2017

Tensions between Iranian former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and conservative judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani are reaching a climax, with both of them trading barbs against each other publicly.

On Dec. 13, at a summit with students, Larijani accused Ahmadinejad of trying to create “turmoil” and “sedition.”

Hitting directly at Ahmadinejad, Larijani said, “The actions of those who are making [different] kinds of accusations against the judiciary are a type of sedition. Because whoever undermines [Iran’s] political system is actually committing sedition.”

Of note, it has been claimed recently that the daughter of the judiciary chief has been arrested on spying charges, an accusation that has been repeatedly denied by officials.

Larijani said, “In [a recent] Expediency Council meeting, [Ahmadinejad] asked the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council [Ali Shamkhani] about what’s new about the spying case of the daughter of [the judiciary chief]. [Shamkhani] replied that this story is completely a lie. [Ahmadinejad then] said, ‘You are not aware, yet we have exact information that she is in custody and we know her detention place, too.’ How is it possible that a human lies this much and has gotten so far away from the path of fairness and piety?”

Larijani also accused Ahmadinejad and his entourage of supporting jailed billionaire Babak Zanjani, who has been said to be a middleman for bypassing Iran’s sanctions.

On Dec. 17, Ahmadinejad reacted to Larijani’s remark by threatening to disclose a number of issues about the performance of the judiciary chief.

In a video released on Ahmadinejad’s Instagram account, the former president of Iran addressed Larijani, asking him to deliver to him any documents and proof for his accusations. “He [Larijani] attributed charges to me and my colleagues. He described us as seditionist, deviant and a supporter of Mr. Babak Zanjani, and accused us of these charges. However, Mr. Babak Zanjani has been in jail for almost four years and has been put on trial in closed sessions, and we don’t know what has been going on in there,” said Ahmadinejad.

The former president then set a 48-hour ultimatum for the judiciary chief to give him proof of their charges of sedition.

In response to Ahmadinejad’s threat, Iranian Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, who was appointed by Larijani, vowed to give Ahmadinejad what he asked for. On Dec. 18, Montazeri said, “I will answer him in the next one or two days.”

Meanwhile, a former conservative member of parliament said Ahmadinejad’s team may be in contact with spying agencies of Western countries. Ebrahim Aqa-Mohammadi said Dec. 19, “[The issue that] they are influenced by a number of Western countries is undeniable, and this may be in the form of having ties with foreign intelligence services [of these countries].”

Hassan Ghaffouri-Fard, a prominent moderate-conservative figure, analyzed Ahmadinejad’s recent activities and said Ahmadinejad is seeking to stop the judiciary from studying his case.

Ghaffouri-Fard said Dec. 19, “The judiciary is planning to review his case, and he is attempting to affect his case by [resorting] to illogical tools. He also may think that he can make the judiciary retreat and influence the process of reviewing his case by giving one or two speeches.”

On Dec. 19, Ahmadinejad released a video in which he asked the judiciary chief to resign; however, he didn’t reveal anything against Larijani.

“Now, [Larijani] lacks legitimacy due to frequent violations of the constitution, laws and the emergence of signs of his inadequacy. The continuance of his [responsibility as the judiciary chief] violates the rights of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei], the Islamic Republic and the people as the main owners of the country and the revolution, and that is why he is a usurper,” Ahmadinejad said.

Minutes later, the judiciary answered Ahmadinejad by saying he should be responding to them instead of threatening others. The judiciary also said Ahmadinejad’s threats are a known method for trying to escape trial and punishment.

On the same day, the judiciary announced that the verdict of Hamid Baghaei, Ahmadinejad’s vice president in charge of executive affairs, has been delivered to him. However, according to the judiciary, the verdict is not definitive and can be objected to.

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