Ahmadinejad faces anger in Iran over firing of FM

December 14, 2010 19:36

TEHERAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faced outrage at home Tuesday over the ambush-style dismissal of his longtime foreign minister, more evidence of a growing rift in Iran's conservative leadership just as Teheran reopens talks with world powers on its disputed nuclear program.

Iran's leaders tried to quiet the rumblings by insisting there was no fundamental policy shifts behind the surprise decision Monday to dump Manouchehr Mottaki while he was in the middle of a diplomatic mission to Senegal and appoint nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi interim foreign minister.But the fallout from some top lawmakers and the media — even one of Teheran's most hard-line newspapers — pointed to bigger questions about growing splits between Ahmadinejad and rivals from within the country's conservative leadership who see the move as a presidential power grab and cronyism.

It also raises the possibility of new friction between Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power in the country and has clashed with the president over political appointments in the past.

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