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Ahmadinejad sacks controversial chief of staff

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed his chief of staff on Saturday. Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie is seen as a potential presidential contender and had angered hardliners by suggesting Iran was a friend to all nations, including Israel.

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REUTERS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed his chief of staff on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency reported, sidelining a controversial figure who is seen as a possible future presidential contender.

Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaie, a target for Ahmadinejad’s detractors within the conservative ruling elite, has survived many calls to be sacked and had enjoyed the confidence of the president, to whom he is related by the marriage of their children.

While Mashaie retains several other governmental posts, his position as chief of staff has been taken by another close Ahmadinejad aide, Hamid Baqaie, IRNA reported. Mashaie angered many hardliners by suggesting Iran was a friend to all nations, including the people of Israel, and by promoting an “Iranian” school of Islamic thought, seen by many in the Islamic Republic as unacceptable.
 

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