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Ahmadinejad Calls On Rouhani And Others To Step Down

Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing supporters in 2017.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing supporters in 2017.

Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has once again called upon the heads of the Islamic Republic’s three branches of government to step down.

In a video message posted on his Telegram Channel, hardliner former President tells his “moderate” successor, Hassan Rouhani, that people do not “accept” him anymore and the continuation of his presidency will be detrimental to the country, as well as to himself.

It’s better for you to step down, Ahmadinejad has reiterated, adding, “Mr. Rouhani; the nation does not accept you; how else could they make that clear? Your continued presence [as President] is at the expense of the country”.

Ahmadinejad who had a fall-out with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei during his second presidential term, turned into a vocal critic of the elite and senior officials in 2017; even questioning Khamnei's leadership.

While blaming the heads of the Islamic Republic’s executive, legislative and judicial branches of power for Iran’s “current situation”, Ahmadinejad has called upon the trio, Hassan Rouhani, Ali Larijani and his younger brother Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani to seek people’s contentment, and “the best way to achieve that goal, is probably stepping down.”

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad, who, for his part, had repeatedly been accused of lying during his presidency, insisted that people of Iran are “completely frustrated” by watching authorities “lie to their face”.

Regretfully stressing that the national “treasury” is broke, silos and warehouses are “empty” and the “government’s balance-sheet is in red”, Ahmadinejad has accused the Rouhani’s Administration of presenting false and misleading statistics.

Ahmadinejad, 61, the president of Iran from 2005 to 2013, was blocked from running in last year’s presidential election. Khamenei had earlier advised Ahmadinejad not to run and the Guardian Council responsible for vetting candidates later disqualified him.

During his presidency Ahmadinejad was a populist and distributed a lot of subsidies and assistance to people. This has made him a somewhat popular figure among lower-income citizens.

However, at the same time that his closest allies are currently behind bars for “financial corruption”, Ahmadinejad has kept his seat as the representative of the Supreme Leader to the influential Expediency Council of Discernment.

Ahmadinejad’s barrage of criticism has targeted president Rouhani at a time when Tehran is struggling with a chaotic forex market, nosediving national currency, sporadic protest rallies and uncertainties resulting from President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) JCPOA) or 2015 Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

A senior Trump administration official told Fox News earlier this week that the reintroduced sanctions are designed to constrict the revenue Tehran uses to fund “terrorists, dictators, proxy militias, and the regime’s own cronies.”

The uncertainty caused by the re-imposition of the sanctions have proven devastating for the Iranian economy, which was already weakened by decades of previous sanctions and mismanagement and theft by high-ranking officials. Iran's rial now trades over double its government-set rate to the U.S. dollar, the Associated Press reported, and has lost nearly 80 percent of its value compared to last year at this time, according to the New York Times.

In the meantime, Rouhani is under pressure almost from every corner to reshuffle his already weakened cabinet.

Furthermore, on Wednesday, majlis (Islamic Consultative Assembly or parliament) voted to sack Rouhani’s labor minister.