Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was grappling yesterday with a new political crisis that has weakened his standing even among his hardline supporters as he prepares to unveil a new government.
Ahmadinejad has come under fire over the sacking of his intelligence minister on Sunday and was dealt another blow when his culture minister quit over what he said was a weakened government.
Iran has been in turmoil since Ahmadinejad’s bitterly disputed re-election in a June 12 presidential poll triggered a wave of mass public protests and unrest.
The post-election chaos has also exposed deep divisions within the ruling elite in the Islamic republic and led to open criticism of not only Ahmadinejad but also supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“A chaotic day for the government,” thundered the front-page headline of the conservative Tehran Emrouz newspaper after the weekend Cabinet drama.
The Mehr news agency quoted an “informed source” as saying Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie was sacked following a “verbal quarrel” with Ahmadinejad at a Cabinet meeting over his controversial pick for first vice president.
Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie finally stepped down as first vice president on Saturday after the all-powerful Khamenei intervened in the crisis and personally ordered Ahmadinejad to dismiss him.
Ejeie’s dismissal has set off a chorus of criticism even among the conservative wing in Iran just days before Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in again on Aug. 5 and then set about forming a new cabinet.
MP Ali Motahari urged Ahmadinejad to “control his nerves.”
“It looks as if he is intentionally bringing tension to the country. If the removal of the minister is because of this [objections to Rahim Mashaie’s appointment] it is an ugly act because then it becomes a personal matter and has nothing to do with the country’s interests,” he said.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s