Ahmadinejad grooms chief-of-staff to take over as Iran's president
guardian / Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is controversial figure at odds with religious leaders, according to leaked embassy cable


A close ally of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who favours cultural openness and opposes greater clerical involvement in politics, is being groomed as a possible successor to the Iranian president when he steps down in two years time.

Rahim Mashaei, Ahmadinejad's chief-of-staff, is positioning himself as a
candidate who will champion a nationalist rather than a theological
narrative of Iran.
Mashaei, whose daughter married Ahmadinejad's son, has become the most
controversial political figure in Iran, provoking harsh criticism from
the conservative establishment, including the supreme leader, Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei.

Hardliners close to Khamenei have accused Mashaei of
compromising the Islamic Revolution and the principles of Islam by
focusing on Persian history.

Mashaei infuriated conservatives in
2008 when he said that Iranians are "friends of all people in the world –
even Israelis". He was also ... >>>

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