Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke out after being denied a prison visit to see his top aide. The president accused Iran’s judiciary of unconstitutional conduct in denying the visit to Evin prison.
Ahmadinejad’s press adviser and head of Iran’s state news agency IRNA, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, was sent to Evin prison in September, reports Reuters. Javanfekr is serving a six-month sentence for publishing an article that was deemed offensive to public decency.
Along with the public decency claims, Javanfekr was also convicted of insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Iran’s highest authority) on his personal website.
Ahmadinejad’s denied prison visit appears to be another sign of his waning power in his last year in office. His influence in the power structure has weakened since he clashed with Khamenei in 2011 over the Supreme Leader’s choice to reinstate Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi, whom the President had fired.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denied prison visit request was made public in October. While it was seen by Iranian media and commentators as a request to visit Javanfekr, there has been no official confirmation that this was the reason the leader wanted to visit Evin, notes Yahoo! News.
Iran’s judiciary rejected the prison visit request on Sunday, citing the fact that it is not in Iran’s best interests, in light of the current economic crisis. Ahmadinejad’s opponents in parliament have blamed both his administration, as well as crippling sanctions by the West.
Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei stated on Sunday:
“We must pay attention to major issues. Visiting a prison in these circumstances is a minor issue. If we have in mind the best interests of the nation, a [prison] visit in these circumstances is not appropriate.”
Ahmadinejad, who was denied the prison visit this week, will not be allowed to run in the June 2013 Iran presidential election.