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Mar 17, 2:07 PM EDT

Iran detains close ally of former president Ahmadinejad

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency is reporting that authorities have detained a close ally of former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Saturday report says the office of Tehran prosecutor's said police detained Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei for "investigations." It did not elaborate.

On Thursday, Mashaei, in front of the British embassy in Tehran, burnt a copy of a court verdict sentencing Hamid Baghaei, another Ahmadinejad ally who was sentenced to 15 years for the misuse of public funds when he was a vice-president under Ahmadinejad. Baghaei began serving his term earlier this week.

Several of Ahmdainejad's allies are in jail over the misappropriation of public funds.

During Baghaei's trial, Ahmadinejad repeatedly appeared outside the court criticizing many officials, including the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani.

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