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      Ahmadinejad and Khameini Lock Horns

      Iran's parliament refers Ahmadinejad's self-appointment as interim oil minister to the judiciary in an escalation of his spat with Khameini.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 6/2/2011, 9:40 PM / Last Update: 6/3/2011, 3:11 AM

      Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at loggerheads with his nation's parliament, after he declared himself caretaker oil minister last month, Farsi Times reports.
       
      Iran's parliament voted 165-1 on Wednesday to endorse an energy committee report declaring Ahmadinejad's move to be "an obvious violation of law" and resolved to refer the matter to Iran's judiciary.
       
      Under Iranian law, the president has the power to dismiss ministers and put caretakers in place for up to three months without parliament's approval, but lawmakers, already upset by his decision to downsize the country's cabinet and reduce the number of ministies, decided Ahmadinejad had "gone too far" with some even accusing him of seeking personal control of Iran's cash-cow oil industry.
       
      The vote in the conservative-dominated assembly is its latest action against Ahmadinejad since the president in April publicly challenged Iran's highest authority, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
       
      The vote in the conservative-dominated assembly was triggered by Ahmadinejad's sacking of oil minister Massoud Mirkazemi, which was part of a plan to merge eight ministries into four to cut their overall number to 17. Observers said it was unclear whether there was now a real threat Ahmadinejad could be impeached. 
       
      The vote does, however, mark the latest clash in an increasingly ugly struggle between Ahmadinejad and his onetime mentor, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
       
      The struggle between master and student was triggered by Ahmadinejad's attempt to sack the powerful intelligence minister, Heidar Moslehi, a move Khamenei blocked. That provoked Ahmadinejad into a bizarre 11-day refusal to appear in public or carry out any duties. 
       
      Although Ahmadinejad publicly backed down in the confrontation with Khamenei weeks later, it emboldened his hardline rivals in parliament.
       
      The escalating confrontations appear to be part of a power struggle ahead of parliamentary elections next year and the vote for Ahmadinejad's successor in mid-2013.
       
      Khameini recently referred to Ahmadinejad as the leader of a 'deviant movement' after the Iranian president reportedly said he believed the 12th Imam - the final Imam and final savior of mankind - would reveal himself on June 5. 
       
      While some 85% of Iranian Shiite muslims are "twelvers" - adherents of the 12th Imam doctrine - most, including Khameini, object to ascribing a specific date to the event and instead maintain the 12th Imam is 'occluded.'
       
      June 5th marks the day Israel launched its pre-emptive air strike in the 1967 'Six Day War" as Arab army's massed for the attack, which ultimately resulted in Israel's liberation of Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
       
      Arabs plan to mark June 5th this year as "Naksa Day."