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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 13:10 GMT
Growing pressure on Ahmadinejad
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Teheran

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Criticism of Mr Ahmadinejad has been coming form unusual sources
There are signs of growing opposition in Iran to the policies of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A group of reformist and moderate members of parliament have now started collecting signatures to summon him to answer questions about his policies.

Editorials in normally uncritical hardline newspapers have been criticising him for being too aggressive towards the west.

But such criticisms are unlikely to cost Mr Ahmadinejad his job.

UN sanctions

After the UN passed a resolution against Iran's nuclear programme, more criticism has been voiced inside the country of Mr Ahmadinejad.

It is thought about 50 MPs have signed a document calling for the president to come to parliament and answer questions, but to take effect at least 75 signatures are needed.

If this challenge succeeds, it would be unprecedented, but even Mr Ahmadinejad's opponents recognise it is unlikely they could ever impeach him given the support he enjoys from the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Surprisingly some hard-line newspapers have started criticising the president in recent days, asking why he has spent so much of Iran's foreign exchange and complaining about the confrontational language he uses on the nuclear issue.

There has also been criticism of the conference the president organised last month questioning the World War II holocaust which lost Iran much sympathy internationally.

Separately, 150 MPs have signed a letter urging the president to base his next budget on realistic assumptions - for example, about future oil prices which are key to Iran's economic forecasts.

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