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Battle over Iran intelligence chief

world Updated: Apr 19, 2011 02:38 IST

Iran's intelligence minister was caught in an apparent high-level political dispute Sunday after offering his resignation from president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government but later being ordered to remain by Iran's top leader, news reports said.

The conflicting signals over Heidar Moslehi suggested another point of friction between Ahmadinejad and Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over control of key posts.

Khamenei, who has the last word on all key decisions, is considered a supporter of Ahmadinejad's government but has stepped in before to overrule him on political appointments.

The official IRNA news agency first reported that Heidar resigned in the latest apparent rift with Ahmadinejad's government.

But just hours later, several semi-official news agencies, including Fars, said Khamenei opposed the resignation and said that Moslehi will continue in the post, which has played a key role in the crackdown on opposition following Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009.