Report: Iran Arrests Ahmadinejad Over Protests Role
January 08, 2018
According to the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested for sedition over public comments he reportedly made related to his successor, President Hassan Rouhani. The newspaper claims Ahmadinejad said (translated from Arabic):
The government of Hassan Rouhani believes that they own the land and that the people are an ignorant society that does not know. What Iran suffers from today is mismanagement and not lack of economic resources. The people are angry at this government because of its monopoly on public wealth.
Ahmadinejad, who served as president from 2005 to 2013, fell out of favor with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and even drew a rare rebuke from the theocratic state’s leader when he decided to run for the presidency without permission last year. In an electoral system that is neither free nor fair, Rouhani won re-election in an apparent landslide.
The former president, however, did not fade from the public spotlight, however, and has continued to take an antagonistic line with Khamenei the ruling Guardian Council. Last month, he accused several government officials of corruption and misappropriating government funds, which promped a second public reprimand from Khamenei.
The irony of the situation cannot be lost. Ahmadinejad was himself the target of anti-government protests in 2009 that he ruthlessly crushed, using the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ military might against largely unarmed college students. His push to rapidly develop a nuclear weapons program also created much of the economic hardship his country faces as a result of economic sanctions.
Those sanctions were lifted under Rouhani’s leadership after adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal struck with the Obama administration in 2015. The Trump administration is moving toward revoking that deal over Iran’s funding of terrorist activity in the Middle East.
A spokesman for Khamenei claims the “seditious” protests have ended, and were started by “enemies of Iran.” He did not specify who those enemies were.