April 17, 2010

Iranian President’s Conservative Critics Push Back against Administration



Melli – Summary translation by Persia House

April 6, 2010

Elias Naderan believes that Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Ahmadinejad’s First Vice President should be arrested. On the sidelines of a Majlis session, Naderan said, “Rahimi is the boss of the Fatemi Street ring, for which he made decisions regarding [embezzling] and distributing funds. Except for him, almost all the members of this ring have been apprehended. Making an exception for the person responsible for carrying out [the activities] is neither just nor correct.”

Persia House Analysis:

The attempt by Majlis representatives to take down Vice President Rahimi is part of the broader struggle taking place between the hardliners allied with Ahmadinejad and the more pragmatic individuals within the conservative Principlist faction. Rahimi may have become a target because he has been on the front lines of the battle with the parliament over Ahmadinejad’s controversial subsidy bill. The administration has called for $40 billion of cuts in energy and food subsidies; conversely, the Majlis has been adamant in only approving $20 billion.

Conservative MP Elias Naderan, who is leading the calls of corruption against Rahimi, is a member of the Majlis Economic Commission, which is vehemently opposed to Ahmadinejad’s version of the subsidy bill. Naderan has accused Rahimi of being a crime boss, abusing his position in government, receiving and paying bribes, extortion, and obstruction of justice. Rahimi is also accused of embezzling from the Iranian treasury. On April 7, the Vice President fired back,claiming that he is the “safe-keeper of the treasury,” and that these accusations are part of a ploy by some to create doubts about the Ahmadinejad administration.

It is interesting to note that, as part of the effort to sideline Rahimi, the website of Principlist MP Ahmad Tavakoli suggested that the Vice President has ties to the Rafsanjanis—the very family that Ahmadinejad has singled out as the symbol of corruption. Tavakoli heads the Majlis Research Center, which has warned that the administration’s subsidy plan would exacerbate inflation. Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s son, Mehdi Hasehmi (with whom Rahimi was photographed), isaccused of embezzling government funds to finance his father’s 2005 presidential campaign.

Two officials from the “Fatemi Ring” (which Rahimi allegedly led) named “Mr. J.A.” and “Mr. M.” from the Tehran governor’s office have been detained on corruption charges, according to a judiciary file. Alef has identified these men as Mr. Jaber Abdalli and Mr. Massoudi (along with Mr. Hamzeh-nevis). According to Jahan News, the corruption ring started out of an insurance company in Karaj, west of Tehran. The president of the company has been charged with embezzling over $7 billion.

Source Information:

Melli is based in Europe and is critical of the Iranian government

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