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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 18:41 GMT
Tehran paper attacks Ahmadinejad
By Sadeq Saba
BBC Iranian affairs analyst

Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Ahmadinejad has come under attack from the hardliners
In a rare attack on Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hardline newspaper has accused him of behaving immorally towards his political rivals.

The Islamic Republic daily, close to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said Mr Ahmadinejad's behaviour is dangerous for Iran.

The publication is seen as a newspaper with impeccable Islamic credentials.

The attack would be difficult to imagine without at least tacit support from Ayatollah Khamenei.

In a hard-hitting editorial on Wednesday, the Tehran paper said the president's treatment of his critics was immoral, illogical and illegal.

Losing support

It was referring to a recent speech by Mr Ahmadinejad when he described people opposed to his nuclear programme as traitors and accused some senior former nuclear negotiators of spying for foreigners.

The paper said Mr Ahmadinejad was using this tactic to discredit his political rivals prior to the parliamentary elections due early next year.

It called on Iran's judiciary to perform its duty and punish people who make baseless allegations and cause public anxiety.

Such a direct personal attack against President Ahmadinejad is indeed rare in official media in Iran.

It shows that the Iranian president is not only losing support among ordinary people because of economic hardship, he is also angering part of the establishment for using the nuclear issue to bolster his personal power.



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