Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni has given an ultimatum to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to accept his decision over the appointment of the intelligence minister or resign.

In a widening rift between the two leaders, Morteza Agha-Tehrani, a member of parliament and Ahmadinejad’s so-called moral adviser, told a gathering on 6 May that Khamenei has given the president a deadline to make his decision.

The rift first occurred when Ahmadinejad asked the Intelligence Minister Heider Moslehi to resign on 17 April. Khamenei refused to accept his resignation (MEED 18:4:11).

Khamenei has the final decision on appointments of the ministers of foreign affairs, intelligence, defence and interior. Moslehi has since been reinstated as intelligence minister.

Ahmadinejad then boycotted his official duties in protest for more than eight days before reappearing on 1 May to hold a cabinet meeting. Moslehi was absent at that meeting, but attended a second meeting on 4 May before being asked to leave by Ahmadinejad.

The president was also noticeably absent this week from religious ceremonies held at Khamenei’s house. Several members of parliament have revived a bid to summon Ahmadinejad for questioning over recent events. So far, 90 members of parliament have signed the petition. Under Iranian law, at least 85 more signatures are needed for the president to be impeached.