Esfandiar Mohamed Mashaei, Ahmedinejad’s brother-in-law and chief of staff, was quoted today as calling for more women’s rights in Iran. ‘Women have been oppressed and treated unjustly in our society in the past, and this oppression still exists,’ said Mashaei, before saying Iran should ‘guarantee women’s rights’ and ‘take women’s rights into consideration more than ever’.
His statements are likely to further the rift between Ahmedinejad and Iran’s clerics. (Mashaei also recently said something like ‘the mullahs should be removed from government’, although I can’t find the source for that at the moment.) Khamenei reportedly has warned the president against setting up ‘alternative power structures’, probably to a reference to the foreign policy responsibility he has given to Mashaei, making him a rival to Iran’s foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, who was appointed by Khamenei.
Ahmedinejad has also been embroiled in a battle with Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, over the Tehran metro – the Majlis has earmarked $2m in funding for renovation of the metro, which the president is refusing to spend. This is, allegedly, because the metro company is owned by the son of Akber Hashemi Rafsanjani, an opponent of Ahmedinejad’s who has lent support to the Green Movement.