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Iran Judiciary Says President’s Jail-Visit Plan Not Appropriate

Iran’s judiciary hasn’t agreed to a request by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit a Tehran prison where his aide is detained, saying the move wouldn’t be “appropriate,” the state-run Mehr news agency reported.

“Given the special situation we’re in, the nation’s priorities, in particular economic issues, we need to focus our concerns and efforts on these matters and not those of secondary importance,” Prosecutor-General Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, whose office is part of the judiciary, was cited as saying today by Mehr. “Visiting a prison in this context is trivial.”

In a letter to the head of the judiciary published in full by the state-run Iranian Students News Agency yesterday, Ahmadinejad requested permission to visit the Evin prison “at the earliest time possible.” The president wrote that he had intended to visit early this month but was asked to postpone his trip by “days.”

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a press adviser and close aide to Ahmadinejad, was imprisoned on Sept. 26 on charges of insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The move highlights criticism of the outgoing president that has grown as international sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program have hurt the economy. Ahmadinejad is in the last of his two terms as president and will be succeeded by the winner of the June election.

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