Iran’s powerful clerics have accused associates of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of witchcraft, including summoning genies, amid an increasingly bitter rift between Ahmadinejad and the country’s supreme religious leader.

In recent days, some 25 confidants of Ahmadinejad and his controversial but loyal chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei have been arrested and charged with being “magicians.”

One aide, Abbas Ghaffari, was described by conservative Iranian newspaper Ayandeh as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with unknown worlds.”

Ghaffari has reportedly been accused of summoning a genie, who caused his interrogator to have a heart attack.

The arrests are the latest window into the growing rift between Ahmadinejad, Iran’s elected secular president, and Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, the country’s appointed religious supreme leader.

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