TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has backed parliament in a dispute with hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had objected to several measures adopted by MPs, the ISNA news agency said on Monday.
Ahmadinejad had criticised parliament, which is dominated by fellow conservatives, for overturning his decision to dissolve several institutions — including the Monetary and Credit Council, a key financial policy maker — as well as his abolition of summer time in Iran.
“Laws adopted through the process defined by the constitution must be respected by all organs,” Khamenei said in a letter to parliament speaker Gholam Ali Hadad Adel.
Hadad Adel had sought the opinion of the supreme leader, who has the final say on all key policy issues, after receiving Ahmadinejad’s complaint.
“I was surprised by the president writing to parliament to say a bill was against the constitution. This is unprecedented,” Hadad Adel said, noting that it was the prerogative of the Guardians’ Council to decide whether legislation was in accordance with the constitution.
Since he came to power in 2005, Ahmadinejad has sought more control over the economy to allow him to fulfil his campaign promise to distribute oil income more evenly.
But he has come under fire from both reformists and some fellow conservatives who charge that his expansionist economic policies have fuelled inflation.
The president also drew widespread criticism by abolishing daylight saving after he took power on the grounds that the measure, which had been in force for 16 years, went against the teachings of Islam.