Ahmadinejad reaches out to supreme leader

May 5, 2011 at 11:12 AM
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TEHRAN, May 5 (UPI) -- The Iranian president has called on the country's supreme leader to prevent the creation of a sports ministry, something his critics say is illegal.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing internal pressure over a series of ministerial moves. Ahmadinejad has apparently sent a letter to Ali Khamenei, the country's ruling cleric, asking for support in preventing the creation of a Sports Ministry, Radio Zamaneh, a Persian broadcaster in the Netherlands, reports.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, the Iranian president's chief of staff, said a new ministry wouldn't do much to benefit the sports culture in Iran.

Hassan Ghafourifard, a conservative member of the Iranian Parliament, described the president's decision to court Khamenei on the matter "illegal and inappropriate." He said his colleagues have already approved the new ministry.

Ahmadinejad tried to sack Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi because the intelligence agency was allegedly spying on Mashaei. Khamenei blocked the firing of Moslehi, however.

Ahmadinejad took part in Cabinet meetings during the weekend in an effort to ease speculation of rifts with the supreme leader.

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