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Iran's Karroubi Predicts Ahmadinejad's Term Will Be Cut Short

Senior Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karroubi says he expects conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be forced out of office before the end of his term.

In an interview with The Financial Times, published Thursday, Karroubi predicted Iran's weakening economy and growing opposition movement will drive "moderate" forces in the government to cut short Mr. Ahmadinejad's time in office.

Mr. Ahmadinejad won a second four-year term last June in a disputed presidential election that Karroubi and other opposition figures say was massively rigged. Karroubi, a 72-year-old reformist cleric, came a distant fourth in that vote. Iran's government denies allegations of vote-rigging.

Karroubi says another factor he believes will lead to the president's ouster is what he calls Iran's "controversial foreign policy." Western nations have strongly criticized Mr. Ahmadinejad for continuing Iranian nuclear activities that they fear could be used to develop atomic weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is designed only for peaceful purposes.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also has drawn criticism from the West for repeatedly predicting Israel's demise and calling the Holocaust a "myth."

Karroubi says he does not expect Mr. Ahmadinejad to change his behavior. He predicted moderate figures in the government will come together soon to find a solution to the unrest that has erupted in Iran since the disputed election.

Karroubi says possible solutions include removing Mr. Ahmadinejad from office, restricting his powers or reshuffling Iran's Cabinet. The president's position in Iran's leadership is subordinate to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Karroubi's son, Hossein, told VOA Monday that his father accepts the fact that Mr. Ahmadinejad is the head of government despite continuing to believe the president was fraudulently re-elected. Karroubi previously had referred to Mr. Ahmadinejad's government as "illegitimate."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.