TEHRAN -- A key ally of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been released from jail, Iranian news services reported Wednesday, the latest development in a case that has highlighted internal political squabbles in advance of June’s presidential elections.
Saeed Mortazavi, a trusted presidential aide, was arrested Monday, reportedly on corruption charges.
There has been no official explanation of why Mortazavi was arrested or why he was released. But the case has generated considerable interest in Iran as the nation prepares for the elections.
Ahmadinejad is completing his second term and cannot run again under Iranian law.
One of the president's chief rivals, parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, member of a politically powerful family, is expected to stand as a candidate. The president and Larijani this week resumed a campaign of verbal broadsides against each other.
On Sunday, Ahmadinejad played before parliament a barely audible video clip in which Larijani’s brother allegedly discusses a corrupt business deal with Mortazavi, who holds a high position atop the nation’s social security apparatus.