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Vice-President obeys order to stand down

Article published on the 2009-07-25 Latest update 2009-07-25 14:18 TU

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie(Photo: Reuters)

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie
(Photo: Reuters)

The controversial first Vice-President of Iran, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, has resigned after only a week in the job, after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for him to be fired.

"Following the order of the Supreme Leader, I do not consider myself as the first Vice-President, but ... will serve our dear people in any capacity," Mashaie was quoted by the Fars news agency as saying.

Earlier Khamenei told the President that the appointment was "against your best interests and the government's interests because it will cause division and frustration among your supporters".

Mashaie, who was a top aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, caused controversy recently when he declared that Iran is "a friend of the Israeli people".

The move is a blow to Ahmadinejad, whose son is married to Mashaie's daughter, coming after massive demonstrations against his re-election.

One of the protesters, Mohsen Ruholamini, died after over a week in  police custody, according to two reformist newspapers Saturday. They did not say how he died.

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