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Ahmadinejad admits '180 degree' rift with Iran's senior Islamic figures


June 8, 2011 - Tehran

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has admitted for the first time that a rift has developed between him and some of the most senior figures of the country, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In a press conference in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said: "It is very clear now that we are 180 degrees away from them - we are actually on opposite sides."

He refused to answer further questions about the power struggle, and said: "Our position at the moment is to stay silent. An inspiring unity silence."

According to The Guardian, Iran's complex power structure has for years been compared to a multi-headed hydra, with multiple points of strength.

However, the struggle now appears to have boiled down to a showdown between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei.

The President is reportedly involved in a dispute with the country's clergy for allegedly ignoring Khamenei's orders over the dismissal of intelligence chief Heydar Moslehi.

According to the Iranian constitution, Khamenei has the final say on all state matters and can even veto decisions by the president on certain cabinet matters.

The controversy started in April after Ahmadinejad dismissed Moslehi, but faced a veto by Khamenei, who insisted that Moslehi should stay in his post.

Earlier, Khamenei had also reiterated his constitutional right to veto any decision by Ahmadinejad he considered as not being in line with national interests.

ANI

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