TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that his relation with Iran's supreme leader is similar to that of "father and son," in his first comments since hardliners warned him to obey Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mehr news agency reported.
"In the recent days some with naive thoughts tried to portray that the relation between government and the dear leader of the revolution has been tarnished... to allude a rift between the government and the leader," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
"But they do not know that the kind of relation between the supreme leader and me goes beyond political and administrative forms. It is made of love, belief and is like father and son," he added.
Iranian hardliners warned Ahmadinejad on Wednesday to obey Khamenei, piling further pressure on the embattled president following his disputed re-election and a series of controversial political decisions.
Ahmadinejad's post-election troubles stem from his choice of a controversial aide Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie as his first deputy and his tardiness in then terminating the appointment after being ordered to do so by Khamenei.
He also sacked Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie reportedly after a quarrel over the delay in dismissing Rahim Mashaie as first vice president, further irking the powerful conservative wing.
Mashaie, who provoked controversy last year for saying Iran was a friend of the Israeli people, subsequently stood down after Khamenei ordered Ahmadinejad to dismiss him but was immediately appointed as the president's chief of staff.
Khamenei had staunchly defended Ahmadinejad's re-election in the June 12 poll in the face of massive public demonstrations that set off the worst crisis in the 30-year history of the Islamic republic.
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