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Iran Security Service Arrests Close Ally of Ex-President Ahmadinejad - Reports

© AP Photo / Bebeto Matthewsformer President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Sputnik International
Iranian security forces arrested former vice president of the Republic Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close ally of ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, local media reported Saturday.

Mashaei was arrested for further investigations after putting on fire the verdict on imprisonment of another Ahmadinejad's ally, Hamid Baghaei, the IRNA agency reported. Mashaei was also charged with propaganda against the country's political elite, and the relevant case was opened against him.

Mashaei was First Vice President of Iran for one week in 2009 until Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered his resignation.He served as Ahmadinejad's Presidential Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2013.

In January, Iranian authorities have arrested former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for allegedly supporting anti-government protests in the country, media reported, citing its sources in Tehran.

FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017 file photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by the AP outside Iran, a university student attends a protest inside Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by anti-riot Iranian police, in Tehran, Iran - Sputnik International
Iran Envoy to UN: Tehran Has 'Hard Evidence' Protests Incited From Abroad
The authorities ordered the arrest of Ahmadinejad during his visit to the city of Shiraz, the UK-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper published in London said Saturday, adding that the decision was approved by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. According to the newspaper's sources, Iranian authorities made such a decision because of Ahmadinejad's statements in the city of Bushehr in the south of Iran, which were regarded as "incitement to unrest."

In late December 2017, Ahmadinejad, addressing the Bushehr residents, reportedly slammed incumbent Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his government, accusing them of distancing from the people's problems, "bad governance" and "monopoly on public wealth."

Ahmadinejad was the country's president for two consecutive terms — from 2005 to 2013. In 2009, protests sparked in the country after he was re-elected.

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