AFP: An aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff has been released on bail, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on Monday.
TEHRAN, September 12, 2011 (AFP) – An aide to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff has been released on bail, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said on Monday.
Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh “was released on bail last week but the case is still open, ongoing and under investigation,” Dolatabadi said in a report by ISNA news agency.
Dolatabadi did not provide further details.
Malekzadeh was a top official in the high council of Iranian affairs abroad, run by Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, whom conservatives accuse of seeking to undermine the Islamic regime.
He was arrested on July 23 on financial corruption charges.
A week before his arrest, foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi appointed him as a one of his deputies, drawing intense criticism from the conservative-controlled parliament with lawmakers threatening impeachment.
Salehi was forced to accept Malekzadeh’s resignation three days later.
The arrests of Malekzadeh and two more officials close to Mashaie in the following days promoted Ahmadinejad to warn authorities he would defend members of his government.
The conservatives, the Shiite clergy and the elite Revolutionary Guards have repeatedly called for Mashaie’s dismissal, accusing him of being too liberal and nationalist, and of exerting too much influence over the president.