Middle East News
Report: Ahmadinejad aide said arrested in Tehran
Jun 23, 2011, 11:00 GMT
Tehran - Former Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, who is also a close aide to Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was arrested Thursday, an unnamed official told Fars news agency.
No further details, such as what on what charges the arrest was based, were disclosed and the Fars report has not yet been officially confirmed.
Malekzadeh, deputy for administrative and financial affairs, has been accused by several parliamentary deputies of corruption.
The parliament warned Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi on Tuesday either to fire Malekzadeh or face impeachment. Salehi gave in, and Malekzadeh resigned the same day.
Malekzadeh is a close aide of Ahmadinejad and the president's chief of staff and senior advisor, Esfandiar Rahim Mashei.
Malekzadeh has also been charged to be part of the 'deviant current,' a local term for used by conservatives and clergy circles for several close aides of President Ahmadinejad charged of trying to undermine the ruling Islamic system in Iran.
The dispute between the conservatives in the parliament and Ahmadinejad's government is believed by observers to have gone beyond technicalities and has become an ideological problem.
Some critics have gone so far as to charge the president's aides with plans to remove the clergy from power. Ahmadinejad has denied the charges but at the same time supported his aides.