Even though Ahmadinejad enjoyed the political support of the supreme leader his first term in office (2005-2009), during his second term (2009-2013) the president fell out of favor with Khamenei, causing several public incidents, such as Ahmadinejad’s 11-day sulk in 2011 when he refused to show up for work after disagreeing with the supreme leader over the reinstatement of the minister of intelligence.
In 2014, stories about the former president’s visits to smaller towns slowly developed into ones about frequent domestic trips to various provinces and meetings with supporters. Shohada-ye Iran, a pro-Ahmadinejad news outlet, published a report April 28 titled “Supporters of the government fear Ahmadinejad’s trip to Jiroft.” Jiroft is a town with less than 100,000 inhabitants, and according to the report, Ahmadinejad was planning to talk at a “memorial for martyrs in the city.”
Not counting the media outlets directly linked to Ahmadinejad, a rare unified wave of voices from the Reformist camp and hard-liners dominated the opinion sections and the front pages welcoming Khamenei’s Sept. 26 remarks.
Ahmadinejad ended his official Sept. 27 letter to the supreme leader wishing him good health and added, “God willing, I will always proudly remain the Revolution’s little soldier and a servant to the people.”