Iranian political figure switches jobs

July 26, 2009 at 1:32 AM
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TEHRAN, July 26 (UPI) -- A controversial Iranian politician switched posts from first vice president to adviser to the president, the state-run news agency reported Saturday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie as his adviser one day after Mashaie resigned as first vice president, IRNA said.

Iran's Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered Ahmadinejad to nullify Mashaie's appointment as vice president. Mashaie said last year the Iranian people are friends with everyone, including Israelis, a statement that angered many of Iran's fundamentalists.

Also unacceptable to the fundamentalists was Mashaie's attendance at a ceremony in Turkey where women danced on stage, CNN reported.

Mashaie's daughter is married to Ahmadinejad's son, and the president continues to defended Mashaie and keep him as a close confidant, the report said.

There are 12 vice presidents in Iran, but the first vice president is the only one authorized to lead a Cabinet meeting if Ahmadinejad is unable to do so.

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