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President backs down on political challenge
TEHRAN | Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended a Cabinet meeting Sunday after more than a week’s absence that raised tension with the country’s supreme leader, state TV reported.
The recent confrontation between Mr. Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei involved the president’s dismissal last month of the country’s most powerful intelligence chief, Heidar Moslehi.
Ayatollah Khamenei quickly reinstated Mr. Moslehi in a slap to Mr. Ahmadinejad. In apparent protest, the president skipped two Cabinet meetings last week.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s decision to back down and attend is likely an attempt to avoid backlash from Ayatollah Khamenei, who has been a strong supporter of the president. That relationship could be fraying by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s repeated attempts to push the limits of his powers.
Last week, Ayatollah Khamenei made a rare public rebuke to Mr. Ahmadinejad, saying he will not hesitate to intervene in government affairs whenever necessary.
A serious fall from Ayatollah Khamenei’s favor would leave Mr. Ahmadinejad’s clout seriously diminished and test the loyalty of his main supporters, including the Revolutionary Guard, which will have a central role in picking the candidates for his successor in 2013.
Investigators find black box from Air France crash
PARIS | France’s air-accident investigation agency said an undersea search has located the flight-data recorder from the 2009 Air France flight that went down in the mid-Atlantic.
In a statement, the BEA said the black box was “localized and identified” on Sunday morning. The statement included photos of the recorder - a red cylinder partially buried in sand on the seafloor.
Investigators hope the black box will help determine what caused the June 1, 2009, crash of Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
All 228 people on board were killed when the aircraft plunged into a remote area of the Atlantic during a thunderstorm.
The bulk of the wreckage was only recently discovered in a deep-sea search.
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