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Iran Arrests Former Deputy Foreign Minister

Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh (file photo)
Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh (file photo)

Iranian media report the arrest of the former deputy foreign minister who resigned this week in a political spat.

The Fars news agency says Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, an ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was taken into custody on Thursday. The report did not detail the charges.

The ex-deputy foreign minister quit Tuesday as his boss was facing impeachment proceedings over his appointment in a growing political rift between hardliners and Ahmadinejad.

Iranian media said Malekzadeh resigned after 33 lawmakers signed an impeachment draft against Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, whose appointment of Malekzadeh last Saturday cause a political firestorm.

Malekzadeh had been facing corruption charges and lawmakers threatened to remove Salehi from office if he did not fire Malekzadeh.

Ahmadinejad for months has been feuding with hardliners and clerics over the direction of Iran's future.

In his resignation letter, Malekzadeh said he could no longer suffer "dastardly manipulations and plentiful injustices" from his opponents.

Iran's Press TV reported Malekzadeh was replaced by Behrouz Kamalvandi, who is Iran's former ambassador to Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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