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Ahmadinejad Under Fire from Iran Judiciary Chief - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives to meet with Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami in Tehran. (AFP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives to meet with Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami in Tehran. (AFP)

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani has hit out at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for criticising a court verdict against the former head of state news agency IRNA, media reports said Monday.

Ahmadinejad used a meeting on Sunday with prayer leaders to denounce as “strange” a court’s decision to hand Mohammad Jafar Behdad who is also the deputy chief of the presidency office, a suspended seven-month jail sentence.

“Such remarks from the president of the country in an official meeting is not justifiable… it is not right,” Iran’s Shargh newspaper quoted the justice chief as saying.

Ahmadinejad must “use a language that is composed, dignified… correct and fair,” Larijani said, in comments widely reported in other local media.

Behdad received the suspended jail term from a judge for writing an article against Ali Larijani, the judiciary chief’s brother who is parliament speaker.

His article criticised the speaker for congratulating opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi on “winning” last year’s presidential election before Ahmadinejad was declared the official victor.

The parliament speaker, who often criticises Ahmadinejad, especially over his handling of Iran’s economy, has previously denied congratulating Mousavi.

The article accused the speaker of “strengthening the will (of Mousavi) to provoke riots and insurgency” by making the congratulatory telephone call to the opposition leader.

Ahmadinejad criticised the verdict which he said was given despite the jury finding Behdad not guilty.

“A strange incident happened recently. Although the jury with an absolute vote said the writer of this article was not guilty, the judge, going against the jury, suspended him for seven months,” Ahmadinejad said.

The justice chief dismissed Ahmadinejad’s statement.

“The main issue is should we allow anyone to talk any way he wants to? Why do we have laws then? The laws are written so that the people abide by them. So that nobody can insult or accuse others,” Larijani said.

Ahmadinejad had also criticised the judiciary for not prosecuting those who insult him.

Larijani took objection to that too, saying: “I have pointed out to him in the past… that this is not the reality.”

The June 2009 poll result triggered massive street protests in Tehran against Ahmadinejad, with supporters of Mousavi accusing the authorities of committing fraud to keep the hardliner in power.

This is a photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry which they claim shows Iran's Ghadir submarines in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in Persian Gulf, Iran.(AP)

This is a photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry which they claim shows Iran’s Ghadir submarines in the southern port of Bandar Abbas in Persian Gulf, Iran.(AP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami prior to a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Lebanese Foreign Minister Ali al-Shami prior to a meeting in Tehran. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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