Turkish news agencies widely covered the story of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s arrest last Monday, which drew a stern reaction from the Islamic regime.
WND reported exclusively on April 30 that Ahmadinejad had been detained for seven hours and warned to shut his mouth over his claim of having embarrassing documents on several regime officials.
WND’s story, from a source in the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit, soon became international news, with several media covering the story, including Shepard Smith of Fox News, The Guardian Express, Britain’s Daily Mail, the Jerusalem Post, Turkish Hurriyet, Alarabiya and the American Jewish newspaper Algemeiner, forcing the regime to react.
The Islamic Republic News Agency Wednesday assailed WND, stating that the “U.S. news website World Net Daily, which had a record of publishing anti-Iranian news items, among its Wednesday news claimed baselessly that … President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was arrested temporarily by some Iranian security forces.” It claimed WND and its author, Reza Kahlili, were engaged in counterintelligence and anti-Iran projects.
Turkish media outlet Haber and Memleket reflected the report run by a major Turkish outlet, Hurriyet, on Friday: “Ahmadinejad was allegedly detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief of intelligence for seven hours, according to former CIA agent Reza Kahlili.”
The report said there were documents that proved Ahmadinejad was fraudulently elected as president in 2009 by having millions of votes added to his tally and that now the president was blackmailing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the document if his candidate, close confidant and adviser Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, was not allowed to run in the presidential elections in June.
Turkish media said there has been visible tension between Khamenei, the supreme leader, and Ahmadinejad in recent years and that the president’s detention was a warning to him that he either shut up or face consequences.
The WND report, which was posted on over 400 Iranian sites, has created a headache for a regime that is already dealing with international sanctions over its illicit nuclear program and the tension over its upcoming presidential elections.
The Iranian Embassy in Ankara attacked the Turkish media in a press release for picking up the WND story. According to the regime’s media outlet AsrIran, the embassy denied that Ahmadinejad had been arrested, accused the Turkish media of being “under the influence of foreign news sources” and asked them to cover Iranian news only from the regime’s official media.
AsrIran said the embassy’s press release started with the Quran’s Surah Hajarat, Verse 6: “O you who believe, if a state of perverse rebellion, brings you news, search for it in detail. Otherwise the result of ignorance, a people give to evil deeds will regret later.”
It urged the Turks to pay attention to recent statements by Khamenei for the need for unity in the Islamic world.
Relations between Iran and Turkey have been souring because Turkey has called on Iranian ally Bashar Assad to step down as Syrian president and because of the recent reconciliation of the Turkish and Israeli governments.
Ahmadinejad recently stated publicly he had been warned that if he released information embarrassing to the regime, he would be taught a lesson. He said he won’t back down and that he has files that, if revealed, would implicate certain officials and they would have no place to hide.
As reported exclusively on WND on May 2, the source provided detailed information on a taped phone conversation between Ahmadinejad and Vahid Haghanian, the head of the supreme leader’s office. During that taped call, the two argued as Haghanian told Ahmadinejad what Khamenei expected of him. Haghanian then told him that they had to add millions of fake votes to declare him the winner despite having all Guards and Basij personnel to vote for him.
Earlier, the regime’s media outlet, Baztab, reported on the existence of the tape and the threat by Ahmadinejad’s camp to release it. The Baztab site, after publishing that news, was immediately taken down by security forces. In an interview today, Baztab reporter Fouad Sadeghi said the news came directly from Ahmadinejad associates.
The man who beat Ahmadinejad in 2009, Mir Hossein Mousavi, has been under house arrest since Feb. 2011. Millions of Iranians took to the streets after that election, calling Ahmadinejad’s reported 62 percent tally of voters (he actually received only a third of the vote) a fraud and demanding a free election. Thousands were arrested, with many tortured and executed.
The source for the reports, a member of the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit, hopes to provide WND with a tape that proves Iranian officials admitted the truth about the level of fraud in the 2009 elections.
That revelation, should it happen, could potentially destabilize the regime right before the new presidential election, scheduled for June 14.