Ex-Iranian FM criticizes Ahmadinejad for firing him

Mottaki says he was caught unaware when Iranian president announced decision, calls dismissal "un-Islamic, undiplomatic and offensive."

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 19, 2010 16:51
2 minute read.
Former Iranian foreign minister Manoucher Mottaki.

Mottaki has a fit 311 187. (photo credit: AP)

TEHERAN, Iran — Iran's former foreign minister criticized the president Sunday for abruptly firing him last week in the middle of an official visit to Africa, saying the dismissal was "un-Islamic, undiplomatic and offensive," according to a local media report.

The former minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he was caught unaware when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the decision to fire him while he was away on a diplomatic mission in Senegal, Mehr new agency reported. Ahmadinejad appointed nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as acting foreign minister.

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Mottaki added his criticism to an outcry by parliament members who rival Ahmadinejad from within his own conservative camp. He told that he was not told about the dismissal before or during his trip.

"Dismissing a minister during a mission is un-Islamic, undiplomatic and offensive," Mottaki said. "I was never informed," he added.

On Saturday, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Iran's first vice president, claimed during a farewell ceremony for Mottaki that he knew he was going to be replaced ahead of his Africa trip. Mottaki did not attend the ceremony and said Sunday he was not informed about it, calling the planning "ridiculous."

He said he met Ahmadinejad before leaving for Africa but nobody told him he was about to be dismissed.

There was more criticism of Ahmadinejad in parliament on Sunday, after an outcry last week.

Ali Larijani, parliament speaker and a close ally of Mottaki, said during a speech in an open session of parliament that he appreciated Mottaki's service.

"The change should have happened with prudence and dignity and not during the visit," Larijani said.

Ali Motahari, one of the lawmakers opposed to Ahmadinejad, told Khabaronline news website Sunday that Mottaki learned about his dismissal from Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

"The President (Ahmadinejad) did not have such a right. I hope he will have convincing response for this," he said.

Mottaki and Ahmadinejad appeared to have had a relationship fraught with tensions.

In the past few months, Mottaki had challenged Ahmadinejad's plan to appoint his own special foreign envoys to key areas such as the Middle East, Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea region. Mottaki won that round after reportedly getting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to intervene. Ahmadinejad eventually reclassified the envoy posts as advisers.


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