Iran’s Attorney General, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, has lashed out against the performance of the Intelligence Ministry. The dispute centers around Montazeri’s claim that individuals with dual citizenships are not prevented by the Intelligence Ministry to take up top positions in the Iranian government. “Such people [with dual citizenship] do not reveal all the information [about themselves] and it is up to the security and intelligence services to pursue them and to make sure they do not end up in government position.”

Montazeri said a “reliable source” had provided the list of the people, which the Attorney General has passed on to the Ministry of Intelligence for follow-up action. The emergence of the list is a direct response to Mahmoud Alavi, the Minister of Intelligence, who has in recent days maintained that there are no top officials in government that hold second citizenships. Shortly after, Montazeri produced the list allegedly given to him by a “reliable source.”

Comment: This public spat between two of Iran’s most powerful state institutions illustrates the extent of rivalry within the Iranian regime. For months, officials from the judicial branch in Iran – a low-key but powerful branch – have been leveling various charges against the government of President Hassan Rouhani. These include charges of corruption at the hands of Rouhani-aligned officials to the notion that Rouhani and his top officials are negligent on the question of foreign intelligence services infiltrating the Iranian state via dual citizens. It is not Alavi, however, who is the ultimate target of such political attacks. The Intelligence Minister is by law someone who is a cleric and the president has to coordinate the appointment with the Office of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The ultimate target of these latest attacks is Rouhani himself as he prepares to announce his bid for re-election in May 2017.