Former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has described his close ally’s recent detention as “illegal” and a “great cruelty,” calling for his immediate release.
Hamid Baghaei, vice president for executive affairs during Ahmadinejad’s second term, was detained and taken into custody in front of his house on July 9.
Ahmadinejad, in a long letter addressed to the people of Iran and published on his official website, said he has also sent a separate letter addressed to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, asking him to help in Baghaei’s release.
“The law enforcement officers detained Baghaei on Sunday, claiming he had ignored a warrant summoning him to court,” said Ahmadinejad’s media adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, adding, “Nevertheless, Baghaei denied receiving any court order.”
As Baghaei was incapable of presenting the $15 million bail required by the judge for his release, he was immediately put behind bars.
“The security forces took Baghaei away while sealing off a part of his residence,” wrote Javanfekr on Dolatebahar, a pro-Ahmadinejad government website on July 9.
In his detailed defensive letter, Ahmadinejad cited a Persian expression describing himself and his allies as chickens doomed to be slaughtered either for mourning ceremonies or wedding parties.
He also emphasized that he and Baghaei have done nothing in the past year except for nominating themselves for the May presidential election.Apparently, Ahmadinejad wants to highlight that their registration as presidential nominees is one of the reasons for Baghaei’s detention. But he does not mention that he was explicitly advised by the supreme leader to stay away from the race.
However, there have been many accusations and even convictions against Ahmadinejad’s close associates related to suspected corruption or embezzlement.
Later in the letter, and in a bitter tone apt for the opposition, Ahmadinejad implicitly lambasts Khamenei and his close allies, noting, “A mere minority should not present themselves as the owners and masters…of the revolution, and consider people as outsiders [who are] against the revolution. Indeed, [what they do] is the worst anti-revolutionary action possible.”
Furthermore, Ahmadinejad didn’t miss the chance to deride Rouhani and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Acton (JCPOA), Tehran’s nuclear deal with global powers.
While Rouhani presents JCPOA as his government’s greatest achievement, Ahmadinejad downgrades it derisively, saying, “Is it our unforgivable crime that we did not relent to U.S., UK, and Zionist excessive demands and never signed any document against the nation’s interests?”
Ahmadinejad bitterly attacked the judiciary, as well. Evoking Iran’s constitution he said, “Everybody is innocent until proven guilty, and torture is against the law.”
Criticisms voiced by many human rights activists and organizations were repeatedly ignored during Ahmadinejad’s two-term presidency.
It was also during his presidency that pressures against the media and journalists reached new highs.
Ahmadinejad addressed his letter to the “noble” and “magnanimous” people of Iran while signing it as “the servant of the Iranian nation.”