TEHERAN, Iran — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demoted six senior foreign policy aides after the country's supreme leader criticized their appointments as special envoys, a state-owned newspaper reported Wednesday.
Ahmadinejad's decision to name close aides from outside the Foreign Ministry as special envoys to six regions — the Middle East, Asia, Caspian Sea, Afghanistan, Africa and Latin America — sparked sharp criticism from opponents, who argued the president was overstepping his authority.
The appointments prompted Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds final say over all state matters in Iran, to warn Ahmadinejad earlier in September to avoid "parallel efforts" in foreign policy.
His comments was seen as a rebuke to the president, and a warning to leave key foreign policy decisions to Khamenei.
The deputy chief of political affairs at the president's office, Mohammad Jafar Behdad, said in the Iran Daily Wednesday that Ahmadinejad had demoted the special envoys to "advisers" following of Khamenei's comments.