Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday insisted he still wants to visit Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, a day after the judiciary rejected his request to see the jail, the presidency website reported.
“Citing different articles in the constitution… I am determined to fully execute the constitution and fundamentally reform the country’s affairs” he said in a letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.
“I am certain that by inspecting the prisons and some courts I will be able to study how the constitution and the people’s basic rights are observed. I will report (my findings) to the great nation and the supreme leader,” he added.
On Sunday, chief prosecutor and judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie said the timing of Ahmadinejad’s request suggested there was “a political dimension” to it. He added: “In this situation, it is not appropriate.”
Mohseni Ejeie suggested Ahmadinejad’s sudden interest in Evin was linked to “a person affiliated to (the government) in prison” — presidential press adviser Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
Javanfekr, who heads the official IRNA news agency and state newspaper Iran, was arrested in September and sent to Evin for six months after being convicted of publishing material offensive to Islamic codes and public morality.
Iranian media said Ahmadinejad had originally planned an October 8 visit to Evin, where most of the inmates are political prisoners.
The refusal to allow his visit is another sign of tensions that have marked relations between the presidency and the judiciary, which is controlled by hardliners close to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The tensions have repeatedly sparked public controversy, with Ahmadinejad and his entourage accusing the judiciary of being used by his political opponents to imprison people close to the president and put pressure on him.
The judiciary has hit back by accusing the president of violating the separation of powers in the Islamic republic.