Controversial Iran VP abandons post: report
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, the controversial aide of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has abandoned his post as Iran's first vice president, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.world Updated: Jul 25, 2009 12:16 IST
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, the controversial aide of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has abandoned his post as Iran's first vice president, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.
"Following the order of the supreme leader, I do not consider myself as the first vice president, but ... will serve our dear people in any capacity," Rahim Mashaie was quoted as saying by Fars.
Rahim Mashaie withdrew from his post after Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in all national issues, reportedly ordered his dismissal following strong opposition from the country's hardliners.
Khamenei said that the appointment of Rahim Mashaie, who caused a stir last year by saying Iran was a "friend of the Israeli people," was against the nation's interests and a blow to the president's own supporters.
"The appointment of Mr Rahim Mashaie as a deputy to the president is against your best interest and the government's interest, and it will cause division and frustration among your supporters," state television yesterday quoted Khamenei as saying in a letter about the controversial appointment.
"It is necessary that the appointment be cancelled," he added, according to the channel.
Ahmadinejad's appointment of Rahim Mashaie as his first deputy last week had sparked a chorus of opposition in Iran, even among the incumbent's own hardline supporters.