He’s not even welcome at the prison in Tehran.
Iran’s judiciary has denied the chief executive’s request to visit Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where the president reportedly wanted to meet with his former media advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr. The media associate is serving a six-month sentence for publishing an article deemed un-Islamic and offensive to public decency.
A spokesman for the judiciary said Monday that the president’s request was deemed not in the “national interest.”
As it happens, the head of Iran's judiciary branch, Sadegh Larijani, is part of the hard-line political faction that is not especially fond of the outgoing president.
In the West, Ahmadinejad may be regarded as the public face of a despotic theocracy. At home, however, he has clashed with the hard-line mullahs and has fallen out of favor with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This year there was even talk of impeachment.
Undeterred, and ever-resilient, Ahmadinejad went public Monday with his outrage about the no-jail card. As president, he wrote in an open letter, he has every right to visit the prison. It is his duty, he wrote, “to make sure the articles of the constitution and the basic rights of the nation are observed and implemented.”
The two-term president is not allowed to run again in elections scheduled for June.
-- Ramin Mostaghim. Patrick J. McDonnell in Beirut contributed.
Photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been denied premission to visit Tehran's Evin Prison, where an aide is being held. Credit: Jason DeCrow / Associated Press