An ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested. Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh is accused of the charges of corruption and denies the charges.

A number of people linked to the president have been arrested and dismissed in recent months.

Mr. Malekzadeh was appointed as the Deputy Foreign Minister on Saturday, but was forced to quit three days later, after a protest by parliamentarians. A politician, Esmaeel Kosari, told the Mehr semi-official news agency that Thursday’s arrest of Mr. Malekzadeh was on the ground of “financial charges”.

Mr. Malekzadeh has close connections to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, whom conservatives accuse of being part of a “deviant current” attempting to promote nationalist politics over Islamic clerical rule.

President Ahmadinejad is thought to favour Mr. Mashaie to run in presidential elections in 2013.

Report by Alka