Ayatollah: Aide Has 'Bewitched' Ahmadinejad
Cleric says president's 'unnatural' behavior is due to spells, charms
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2011 9:55 AM CDT
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, speaks, as his office director, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, right, listens, May 1, 2011. Mashei has been accused of 'bewitching' Ahmadinejad.   (AP Photo/IIPA,Sajjad Safari)

(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinedjad’s feud with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei isn't his fault: He’s under a magic spell. At least, that’s the theory one influential cleric is peddling. In an interview with an Iranian magazine, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a former Ahmadinejad supporter, says he believes Ahmadinejad’s top adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, has used spells, charms, and hypnotism on the president. “I am almost certain that he has been bewitched,” Yazdi says.

Mashaei has made an enemy of Iran’s clerics by working to limit their political power, the Washington Post explains, and Ahmadinejad has come under fire for not cutting ties with him. Several of Mashaei’s associates were arrested earlier this month for—this is not a joke—being magicians and summoning genies. Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, faced calls for his impeachment this weekend over his recent decision to merge eight government ministries without parliament’s consent.