Ahmadinejad's administration has throughout the past year been battling Iranian lawmakers within the conservative old guard and even his own Principalist camp for a tighter grip on state finances and policy.
Though a majority of the Iranian Majles, or Parliament, rallied behind the president in the immediate aftermath of the June 2009 presidential elections, legislators have since sought to limit the breadth of Ahmadinejad's domestic power as he has sought to expand his influence over key state institutions, such as the ministries of Intelligence, Interior, and Foreign Affairs.
Most recently, Iranian lawmakers have seriously disputed numerous aspects of his government's plan to disburse $20 billion in funding from cuts in state fuel subsidies before the end of the current Iranian year (ending March 20). The government entity slated to make individual cash payments to Iranian citizens as a countermeasure to the subsidy cuts will not be under the purview of Iran's national budget, thus leaving the methodology of cash distribution with little to no parliamentary oversight.
The president has also publicly squabbled with key legislators and senior members of Iran's clerical establishment, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, over his refusal to fire his controversial chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
Mashaei and Ahmadinejad's recent nationalistic statements and public allusions to Iran's pre-Islamic history have intensified the wrath of many conservatives, who argue that de-emphasizing Islam could ultimately subvert the critical role of the clergy in the administration of the Islamic Republic.