Monday, October 31, 2005

Official confirms major purge of Iran’s top diplomats

Iran Focus: a pro-MEK website
A day after Iran Focus first broke the news that Iran had fired its ambassadors to Berlin, London, and Paris, a state-run news agency close to the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed the report.

On Friday, Iran Focus reported that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had fired his country’s ambassadors to Britain, France, and Germany, and ordered 18 envoys to be recalled to Tehran.

The three ambassadors, who were all involved in Tehran’s nuclear negotiations with the West, were Mohammad-Hossein Adeli, Saddeq Kharrazi, and Shamsoddin Khareqani, the Iranian envoys to London, Paris, and Berlin respectively.

Quoting “an informed source” in the Iranian government, Fars news agency confirmed on Saturday that the three ambassadors were leaving their posts. It said Mohammad-Reza Alborzi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations’ European Headquarters in Geneva, was also leaving his post.

In a move to minimise the importance of what amounts to a major purge of Iran’s diplomatic service, the official denied that the ambassadors had been fired, insisting that they had all voluntarily resigned. But he did not explain why, in that case, there had been no previous announcement of the dismissals until Iran Focus broke the news on Friday.

Ahmadinejad has been angered by what he sees as the envoys’ meek reaction to the global condemnation of his Wednesday speech against Israel and the West”, a government official in Tehran, who requested anonymity, told Iran Focus. He made the speech with the full blessing of the Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] and has his green light to stifle any dissenting voice within the government”. READ MORE

The official said that while there was broad consensus within the clergy-dominated regime on the hard-line President’s vow to “wipe Israel off the map”, some Iranian diplomats voiced concern that the international backlash could be too costly for the Islamic Republic.

The ambassadors who are being fired were appointed during the administration of ex-President Mohammad Khatami.

In recent days, an array of top political and military figures in Iran lined up behind Ahmadinejad’s fiery speech. The Commander in Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the Speaker of Parliament, the Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council and the powerful Minister of Intelligence and Security (Iran’s secret police) were among those who fully endorsed the President’s diatribe and made equally strong invectives against Israel.