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Kragar5/15/2011 7:47:56 pm PDT

Ayatollah: Iran’s president ‘bewitched’ by senior aide

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came under new pressure Sunday, as an influential cleric charged that he has been “bewitched” by a controversial senior aide and key lawmakers renewed their impeachment threat.

Ahmadinejad is behaving “unnaturally” and needs to be “saved,” Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a former supporter of the president, told the weekly Shoma magazine.

The cleric said Ahmadinejad’s top adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, has used has hypnotism, spells or charms to take control of Iran’s elected leader. “I am almost certain that he has been bewitched,” Yazdi said.