AN to VF: ini mini mini mo, I want Iran's foreign ministry even mor
Current Intelligence / Mehdi Jedinia

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad always wanted to run foreign policy. Now he has Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in his sights.

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in New York this week, attending the United Nations General Assembly alongside his foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki. They should be presenting a united front to the world, but diplomats at the meeting should not be too surprised if they see differences emerge between the two men, who are locked in a bitter dispute at home.

The latest bout of infighting in Iran’s ruling establishment began in mid-August when President Ahmadinejad appointed four special envoys to cover the Middle East, Asia, the Caspian Sea region and Afghanistan.

The most prominent of the appointeees was undoubtedly Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a friend and relative of Ahmadinejad by marriage, who was placed in charge of Middle Eastern affairs. Mashaei is seen by many as the unofficial number two figure in the Iranian executive after the president.

The appointment of presidential envoys to oversee key areas of foreign policy was an unprecedented step, and was seized on by angry foreign ministry officials and parliamentarians who accused Ahmadinejad of trying to bypass the ministry by creating a parallel structure.

Foreign Minister Mottaki complained directly to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who retains oversight over Iranian foreign policy.

In unusually strong remarks... >>>

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