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Khamenei Finger-Wagging Threatens Rouhani with Impeachment | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, shown at a 2009 clerical gathering, oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion. REUTERS/Khamenei.ir/Handout

London- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reiterated his concerns on polarization taking a toll on the country over political rifts among officials, labeling the situation as grave.

Khamenei made clear threats on ousting former president Abolhassan Banisadr from Iranian politics.

Evoking the memory of the 1980 standoff with the US, when the president played a major role in polarizing the public street, Khamenei demanded that national unity prevails.

Khamenei’s speech also warned current President Hassan Rouhani that he can be simply impeached over a political incompetence.

The war of words between Rouhani and Khamenei has remarkably simmered after Rouhani’s re-election, however not for Khamenei’s part.

Khamenei’s batch of warnings followed statements made by Rouhani on the difficulty of upholding peace and the ease of getting dragged into wars. Rouhani had also recalled the former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s acceptance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598 in 1988, saying that he accepted ‘poison’ for peace and the sake of advancing the country’s national interests.

UNSC Resolution 598 called for an immediate ceasefire between Iran and Iraq and the repatriation of prisoners of war, and for both sides to withdraw to the international border.

Rouhani’s comments were considered a direct response to Khamenei’s remarks on paying the price of challenging others as opposed to compromise, saying that it cuts losses. The Supreme Leader is believed to have been referring to implementing a full-fledged nuclear program instead of a limited one in exchange of relieving the country from sanctions as stipulated by the nuclear deal.

It is the first time that Khamenei vows to impeach Rohani, despite the two having been going through a rough spat for over two years now

Before Khamenei’s remarks, Rouhani spoke about his government’s economic achievements and made promises to improve the economy.

“The period of competition is over and the demands of the people must be fulfilled,” said Rouhani.

The pragmatist president championed a nuclear deal with the United States and five other powers in 2015 that led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran, in return for curbs on its nuclear program.

But the deal has not led to normalization of ties between the two countries that Rouhani hoped for.

For his part, Khamenei said Iran had no intention of normalizing ties with the US.

Khamenei’s hardline loyalists, drawn from among extremists and the Revolutionary Guards, fear that normalization of ties with the United States might weaken their position.