Reporting from Beirut -- Political hard-liners warned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday that he could be deposed like past Iranian leaders if he continued to defy the country's supreme religious leader.
The implied threat was the latest evidence of the rift within Iran's conservative camp and could serve to further sap the authority of a president already considered illegitimate by reformists.The Islamic Society of Engineers, a political group close to parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, warned in an open letter to Ahmadinejad that he could suffer the same fate as Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who was deposed in 1953 in a CIA-backed coup with the acquiescence of the clergy.
The letter also cites the experience of President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, who was ousted in 1981 and fled the country after he fell out with the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Both leaders had been elected by huge margins.
"It seems you want to be the sole speaker and do not want to hear other voices," the group's letter says, noting that recent actions by Ahmadinejad have frustrated his own supporters. "Therefore it is our duty to convey to you the voice of the people."
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