A bout 200 conservative Iranian lawmakers signed a letter on Monday calling on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to consult them about cabinet appointments, the latest sign of a struggle among hard-liners that may limit the president’s political clout as he moves to form a new government in the coming week.
The lawmakers’ demands followed reports that Mr. Ahmadinejad had fired as many as 20 officials in Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. The purge appeared to be aimed at those who disagreed with the handling of the harsh crackdown on opposition protests in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential election.
The firings have exposed sharp differences among conservatives over how to deal with Iran’s still defiant opposition movement. Last month, Mr. Ahmadinejad fired the intelligence minister, Gholam-Hussein Mohseni-Ejei, provoking furious criticism from many conservative lawmakers and senior clerics. Mr. Mohseni-Ejei had objected to using televised confessions of jailed protesters — widely believed even in Iran to be coerced — and since his removal, those confessions have been used in a mass trial of reformist figures. [continued…]