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Earlier this month, the government announced that 40 ambassadors and senior diplomats, including supporters of better ties with the West, would be fired. Also let go were pragmatists who handled Iran's nuclear negotiations with Europe under Ahmadinejad's reformist predecessor, Mohammad Khatami.
In the works, but still not made public, is a deeper shake-up of the establishment in which Ahmadinejad is replacing hundreds of governors and senior officials at various ministries with young, inexperienced Islamic hard-liners who oppose good relations with the West. The changes include putting fundamentalists in key posts at security agencies.
"Yes, the president consults (only) his trusted friends," Kalhor said. "Ahmadinejad has a revolutionary management policy. He makes decisions within 24 hours that previous governments used to take within five years."
Iranian moderates say the president has harmed his country by isolating it internationally, and now Ahmadinejad's friends are lining up against him. He suffered a humiliating defeat last week when his choice for oil minister was rejected for a third time, an unprecedented failure for an Iranian president.
A leading website in Iran has published a transcript and video recording of President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad claiming to have felt “a light” while addressing world leaders at the United Nations in New York in September. Baztab.com – a website linked to Mohsen Rezaei, former commander of the Revolutionary Guards – said the recording was made in a meeting between the president and Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi-Amoli, one of Iran’s leading Shia Muslim clerics.
According to the transcript, Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said someone present at the UN, possibly from his entourage, subsequently told him: “When you began with the words ‘In the name of God’… I saw a light coming, surrounding you and protecting you to the end [of the speech].” Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said he sensed a similar presence.