Iran deputy foreign minister resigns amid pressure

AP , Tuesday 21 Jun 2011

Iranian deputy FM Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh resigns over allegations of corruption, denies charges

Iran's deputy foreign minister has resigned under pressure from hard-liners and lawmakers who sought to impeach him.

The dispute over Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh is part of a burgeoning power struggle involving Iran's president, the parliament and the powerful Muslim clergy.

The semiofficial Fars news agency reported Tuesday that Malekzadeh's resignation had been accepted. Malekzadeh is facing corruption charges and has denied the allegations.

He is an ally of the president's chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

Hard-liners sharply oppose the chief of staff and consider him the head of a "deviant current" seeking to shape the next government after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to step down in 2013.

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