Ahmadinejad blasts judiciary for politicizing atomic espionage case

For the first time since his presidency began in August 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday harshly criticized the judiciary, accusing it of politicizing the nuclear espionage case.

Ahmadinejad blasts judiciary for politicizing atomic espionage case
The president accused former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Moussavian and the intelligence service of being protagonists in the nuclear espionage case by giving classified nuclear information to the British embassy in Tehran.

Although the intelligence service confirmed the accusations, the judiciary on Tuesday dropped the espionage charges against Moussavian.

"The issue is not technical (legal) but political," Ahmadinejad said after a cabinet session in Tehran.

While addressing the judiciary, the president said that Moussavian had held at least 15 sessions with "aliens" and demanded that the contents be made public.

A spokesman for the judiciary, Ali-Reza Jamshidi, on Tuesday said that Moussavian was still charged with propaganda against the Islamic system. While he rejected the commotion over the issue, he called on the government to respect the judiciary's authority and allow the case to go through legal channels.

Observers share Ahmadinejad's standpoint that the move was political as Moussavian had served under former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani and none of them wanted him to be convicted of espionage.

The delicacy of the matter lies in the fact that both former presidents are currently leading the opposition to Ahmadinejad and plan to run in next March's parliamentary elections within a coalition.

During the second term of Khatami's presidency from 2001 to 2005, Moussavian was the number two man in Iran's National Security Council - the main body in charge of nuclear negotiations - after chief negotiator Hassan Rowhani.

Without mentioning the two former presidents by name, Ahmadinejad accused his opponents of exerting pressure on the judges in the Moussavian case to prevent a conviction as spy.

The Iranian government has in the past repeatedly called for an independent judiciary. Ahmadinejad is the first president to challenge the powerful clergy in the judiciary who are also close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Moussavian case is considered part of an internal power struggle ahead of the parliamentary elections on March 14 the outcome of which is crucial for Ahmadinejad. A defeat of his faction would not only enable the reformists to return to legislative power, but also reduce his chances of re-election in 2009.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 15:19