Trouble in paradise: Khamenei vs. Ahmadinejad in Iran?

Ahmadinejad’s move appears to be part of a wider plan to enhance the powers of his own presidency, at the expense of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says Muhammad Sahimi, who writes for the website Tehran Bureau.

“He wants to act independent from Ayatollah Khamenei and he wants to consolidate the power in the office of the president,” Sahimi said.

One example of this was Ahmadinejad’s recent firing of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Foreign policy has always been the jurisdiction of the supreme leader.

Mottaki was the supreme leader’s man, says Omid Memarian, who writes on Iranian affairs for the Inter Press Service. “He had the support of the Parliament, and also he had the support of the supreme leader,” he said. “I talked with different sources and Ahmadinejad dismissed the foreign minister without the approval of the supreme leader.”

Apparently in retaliation, the supreme leader’s camp recently resurrected charges of corruption and abuse of power against one of Ahmadinejad’s vice presidents and against his chief of staff.