Ayatollah Khamenei Backs Ahmadinejad in Power Struggle

But Iran supreme leader also issues warning to the president

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted May 30, 2011 8:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – A power struggle in Iran between president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei appears to be resolving, as the country's supreme leader publicly backed Ahmadinejad yesterday, reports the Los Angeles Times. "While there are weaknesses and problems, the composition of the executive branch is good and appropriate, and the government is working," said Khamenei to parliament in a speech that was later broadcast on television. "The government and parliament must help each other."

However, Khamenei offered a warning to his country's unpredictable president. "When the law is passed, the government must implement it with full power and without any excuse," he said. Experts believe that Ahmadinejad is positioning himself to retain influence after his term ends in 2013. "If he is toppled by parliament, he would be a hero" for his grassroots supporters and mobs, said one analyst. "But if he stays in power—and he will stay—he can claim that his enemies and critics within the system do not allow him to work properly."

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, places his hand on his heart as a gesture of respect to the lawmakers, foreground, at the start of their meeting, in Tehran, Iran, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashes a V-sign as he arrives for a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (not pictured) before their meeting...   (Getty Images)
This image provided by the Presidency Office shows Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attending an interview with state-run TV at the presidency in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, May 15, 2011.   (AP Photo/Presidency Office, Rouzbeh Jadidoleslam, HO)
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