Ahmadinejad criticized over choice of vice-president

Hard-line supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are criticizing him over a decision to appoint a controversial figure as vice-president. On Friday, Ahmadinejad appointed Esfandiar Rahim Mashai as his first vice-president. In 2008, Mashai angered hard-liners when he said Iranians were "friends of all people in the world - even Israelis." On Sunday, the editor of hard-line Kayhan newspaper, Hossein Shariatmadari, who is also an aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the appointment caused "a wave of surprise mixed with regret and concern" among Ahmadinejad supporters. He said that many of the individuals "closest to" Ahmadinejad "strongly oppose" the decision.