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Row Between Judiciary And Ahmadinejad Over 'Mental Health'

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad , Former Iranian President, undated.

“Who’s mentally ill?” has become the main topic in the new round of muscle flexing between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s camp and the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.

At his weekly press conference Sunday, December 24, judiciary’s spokesman, mid-ranking cleric Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei accused Ahmadinejad of being mentally ill.

Retaliating, Ahmadinejad’s top aide described Mohseni Ejei as a mentally ill person.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad’s former deputy in executive affairs, Hamid Baghaei compared the judiciary’s spokesman to chief commander of SS in Germany under Nazis, Heinrich Himmler .

In implicit comments, Mohseni Ejei said, he [Ahmadinejad] is suffering from mental disorder and, if necessary, his lawsuit will be handed over to the legal examiner.

Hours later, former president’s top aide, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, fired back on his Telegram Channel, “Is it not wise to directly hospitalize and refer to the medical examiner a 60+-year old person [Mohseni Ejei] who dresses as a clergy, counts as an elder with white beard and occupies high state positions frivolously whistling in public and singling out himself as a clown?”

Javanfekr was referring to a memory Mohseni Ejei had shared with his audience Monday, December 11.

“During reformist presidency (Mohammad Khatami, 1997-2005), a group of students started whistling [to deride me] and I told them if it comes to whistling I outdo you all, since I am able to twitter without using my fingers”, Mohsaeni Ejei told Sharif University students and then started “warbling” for them.

I am able to twitter without using my fingers!
Iran Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei in a meeting with students, his remarks and warbling in the meeting once again raised questions about the fitness of judiciary officials for their jobs

During Mahmaoud Ahmadinejad’s first term presidency, Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei was in charge of running Intelligence M`inistry (August 2005 – July 2009). He was later dismissed but, immediately appointed as Tehran’s Prosecutor-General.

While responding to Ahmadinejad’s vitriolic attacks on judiciary and circulated as video clips in social media, Mohseni Ejei heckled, “The former president and his companions should firstly be examined by medical jurisprudence to decide whether they are mentally sound or not, since their behavior does not make sense”.

The Islamic republic’s penal code has exempted mentally ill people to be punished for a crime.

However, Mohseni Ejei has accused Ahmadinejad of mental illness while the former president has recently been appointed by the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei as one of the members of influential Expediency Discernment Council, EDC (a body in charge of resolving disputes between the Guardians Council and majlis or parliament and supervising the country’s top policies).

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad’s close ally, Hamid Baghaei also bombarded the judiciary’s spokesman with acerbic comments.

Comparing Mohseni Ejei to commander of SS in Nazi Germany, Heinrich Himmler, Baghei noted, “His motto was also ‘send the others to forced labor camps or sanatoriums”.

Furthermore, Baghaei lamented, “It is true that the SS has been buried and Himmler is waiting to be severely punished for his actions in the world beyond ours, but, his thoughts and mottos are still live and kicking among some people who follow his footsteps”.

The war of words between judiciary and Ahmadinejad’s camp has been going on for weeks, while the Supreme Leader, ayatollah Khamenei has apparently decided to stay away from it.

Nevertheless, Tehran's Friday Prayer leader recently called on the Iran's authorities to avoid airing their dirty laundry in public.

Speaking at Friday Prayer ceremony on December 22, ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani cautioned, “The problems [between the country’s leading figures] should not be publicly tabled. Some elders should be selected to weigh your words against the other’s side and address the problem.”

Kashani, 86, is known for his mild manners, yet Mohseni Ejei angrily dismissed his proposal.

“What [nonsense] is arbitration? These cases tabled [by Ahmadinejad et al] definitely deserve to be legally tackled. Spreading lies and creating marginal themes will never stop judiciary fulfilling its duty”, Mohseni Ejei retorted.

Nonetheless, Ahmadinejad still insists that judiciary’s head, ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani is a “greedy, land-grabbing tyrant” and a totally “unjust” figure who should immediately resign as chief-justice, otherwise the whole ruling system would collapse.

The head of judiciary in the Islamic Republic is directly appointed by the Supreme Leader for five years, renewable for another five.

Sadegh Amoli Larijani’s term as the head of judiciary ends in August 2019.

The war of words between Ahmadinejad and judiciary flared up when Baghaei was detained last June charged with financial corruption. Baghei was later released on a heavy bail.

Meanwhile, according to a former member of Iran’s parliament, there are seven definitive legal verdicts issued against former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who is charged with financial violation worth around $3 billion, asserts a former member of the Iranian Parliament.

In a note for Khabaronline, a news website close to the speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani (Amoli Larijani’s older brother), Fazel Mousavi said he received the report from well-informed sources.

The Iranian Parliament’s Audit Court has also announced that Ahmadinejad, in the last 18 months of his presidency, spent 4.6 trillion Tomans or approximately $1.3 billion of Iran’s oil income illegally.

The court ordered the former president to repay the money, according to the parliament’s website. The ruling said that during his tenure, Ahmadinejad spent oil revenues without proper transfer from the Oil Ministry to the treasury.

Although the court found Ahmadinejad directly responsible, it has issued no other measures against him.

The Audit Court has limited powers of punishment. It can reduce an official’s pay or at most fire officials from government jobs but is not empowered to issue harsher verdicts.