Ayatollah Khatami urges Ahmadinejad to dismiss first VP

July 25, 2009 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami has urged President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to obey the Supreme Leader’s order to dismiss his newly appointed first vice president as soon as possible.

Now that Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has expressed his view on the appointment, the president must not hesitate, he told worshippers in a sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran.
Ahmadinejad issued a decree on July 18 appointing former Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization director Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaii as his new first vice president.
In 2008, Rahim-Mashaii said, “Iran is a friend of the Israeli people,” in stark contrast to Iran’s stance on the Zionist regime, and the Supreme Leader criticized him for his remarks.
However, even though Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered the president to dismiss Rahim-Mashaii from the post of vice president, he is still in office.
The appointment was criticized by many politicians and religious figures as a hasty move and inappropriate.
“The supreme Islamic jurisprudent gives legitimacy to all (officials) in the Islamic system… and we hope that the president will obey the order,” Khatami added.
Commenting on the post-election situation, he said that he believes some people intend to prolong the arguments until the next presidential election.
“At first they raised the issue of annulling the election and when they became disappointed, they brought up the idea of holding a referendum on the legitimacy of the government,” he said in reference to former president Mohammad Khatami’s recent call for a national referendum on the legitimacy of the administration.
“In response to this group, one should ask, ‘Are you asleep or awake?’ The referendum was held and 40 million people came to the scene and elected a president with 24.5 million votes,” he added.
All people who voted in the June 12 presidential election were loyal to the Islamic Revolution, and electoral arguments should not continue, he insisted.
And appointments of officials for the new administration should only be based on meritocracy, he stated.