Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, former chief of staff of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s cabinet, has just been sentenced to five years in prison for plotting against the Islamic Republic of Iran, one year for propaganda against the regime and six months for insulting persons vested with the authority of the state. That comes to a total of six and a half years in jail.

In 2013, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (right in the photo) presented Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei (left in the photo) as his successor. However the Council of the Guardians of the Constitution had rejected his candidacy, calling him a “bad Muslim”.

The daughter of Mashaei married Ahmadinejad’s eldest son.

Ahmadinejad and Mashaei are both supporters of the anti-imperialist revolution of Imam Khomeiny and, as did he, they clashed with the Iranian Shiite clergy. Before returning triumphantly in February 1979, the Ayatollah had been rejected by the high clergy who had supported Shah Reza Pahlevi banning him.

As for Ahmadinejad’s former vice president, Hamid Baghaie, in March 2018 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on secret charges and on the conclusion of proceedings shielded from the public eye. In 2017, with the support of Ahmadinejad, he tried in vain to stand for President of the Republic. His candidacy was rejected by the Council of the Guardians of the Constitution that supported the decision of Shah Reza Pahlevi to expel him from Iran.

Former President Ahmadinejad was placed under house arrest following the anti-government riots of December 2017.

In this way, the administrations and allies of Sheikh Hassan Rohani have completely rejected bright lines being drawn between political institutions and religious ones.

Anoosha Boralessa