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by
Meir Javedanfar

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March 29, 2009 - 12:00 am
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All news takes time to get out of Iran — particularly when it comes to internal strife in the upper political echelons. But eventually, major clashes leak out. This week the news emerged that Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the mayor of Tehran and Ahmadinejad’s main rival in the Osulgarayn (Principalist) movement, resigned from his post just before the end of the previous Persian calendar year — approximately March 18 or 19.

A number of days later, he was reinstated to his job after his resignation was rejected by senior officials, most likely the supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei.

The news was first published in the Tehran-based Jahan News, which is affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Information and Security, known by its Farsi acronym as VAVAK.

According to the report, the main reason for Ghalibaf’s resignation was the termination of supply of cement, primary materials, and tools required by the Tehran municipality for its subway project for the city of Tehran. This follows another controversial decision by the government to cut subsidized gasoline provided to the municipality’s cars. This decision forced the organization to purchase gas at market prices — six or seven times the price. These decisions first caused a number of senior municipality managers to resign, followed by the mayor himself.

The very fact that he took a step as extreme as resigning from his post is an indication of the intensity of the rivalry between him and Ahmadinejad. As mayor of Tehran, Ghalibaf depends on the national government, and Ministry of Interior in particular, to supply him with material and subsidized goods for city projects. He can’t just simply go out and buy them himself.

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