Dispute between Ahmadinejad, judiciary grows over prison visit
In a letter published by Iranian news sites, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the head of the powerful judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, of protecting ďcertain individualsĒ from prosecution for economic corruption who are widely understood to be high officials, including Ayatollah Larijaniís oldest brother.
Ahmadinejad also demanded access to Tehranís Evin prison, to visit his press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr who has been held for nearly a month. Ahmadinejad referred to a range of articles in the Iranian Constitution that explain the powers of the president.
The accusation escalated a simmering conflict between Ahmadinejad and opponents among influential clerics, parliamentarians and commanders. It followed a decision announced on Sunday by Iranís judiciary to deny him access to the prison ó a humiliating slap at the presidentís authority.
Ahmadinejad, in his letter, emphasised his position as the most important directly elected official in the country. He also insisted that under Iranís Constitution the president has the right to visit a prison.
Analysts said Ahmadinejadís public attack on the Larijani brothers reflected his apparent preparation for an increasingly public fight with political enemies. The outcome could determine his influence after his second term ends in July 2013.
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