Ahmadinejad Denies Plans to Remain at Presidential Compound


untitled Reports that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to remain at the presidential compound on Pasteur Street by opening an “office of the former president” has been denied by both the president and his deputy executive. Yesterday, several websites published a letter written by Gholam Hossein Elham, deputy for management development and human capital of the president’s office, to Hamid Baghaei, deputy executive of the president. In the letter, which was obtained and photocopied by the website Etedaal originally, Elham writes of “the necessity to benefit from the worthwhile and effective experience of the former president.” In the letter, dated June 22 of this year, Elham explains the duties of 25 positions in this proposed office which will be “subject to all of the administrative, financial and employment terms and conditions of the president’s office.” The office of the former president will be divided into administrative, cultural, media and patronage duties. Fars News reported today that when asked about his plans to remain at Pasteur Street by reporters after a cabinet meeting, Ahmadinejad said, “My own home has already been prepared and I am currently in the process moving to my house in Narmak, Tehran.” In an interview with Iran Students’ News Agency, Baghaei also denied the report that the president plans to remain at the presidential compound, saying, that “What is being written by the media about this is just noise.” When asked about the specifics of the letter, Baghaei said, “What Mr. Elham communicated was something that existed during [former president Mohammad] Khatami’s final term, based on the fact that when a president’s duties are over he should have an organization. In the civil-service-management laws of the country, it has been stipulated that the president and even the vice president should have an office and security team.” Reformist newspaper Etemaad wrote a very harsh response to this request, noting that when Khatami was leaving office eight years ago, Ahmadinejad prevented him from establishing his office in a location that Ahmadinejad wanted to use for “ceremonies.” According to Etemaad, Ahmadinejad’s office had applied “pressure” on Khatami to evacuate “a small building” on Sa’adbad Street that he had chosen as his office after his presidency. Eventually, Hassan Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s grandson, stepped in and offered Khatami an office in Jamaran, Tehran, where Khomeini used to reside. In response to questions about Ahmadinejad’s office asking Khatami to leave his original office after the presidency, Baghaei said, “A building and an organization are two different issues. And you guys can see that Khatami has personnel and a security team, and this was approved at the end of Khatami’s term.” After today’s cabinet meeting, Baghaei also answered other accusations against the administration. On Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei’s numerous trips, Baghaei said, “Some people say that Mashaei has had 300 trips. This is a lie. The people who said this presumably are not familiar with numbers.” He continued, “Unfortunately, we see that a lying contest has begun among some individuals and they weave issues together, and it is not clear who the source of this is.”