TEHRAN (AFP) - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad can not tolerate criticism, Iran's sacked interior minister was quoted as saying on Monday as he gave an unprecedented insight into the manner of his departure. Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, a mid-ranking cleric who was one of the cabinet's heaviest hitters, was sacked last month after weeks of uncertainty over his fate following parliamentary elections. "In the cabinet there is no one who can take a stance of opposition against the president," Pour Mohammadi told the Hamshahri newspaper in a long-awaited valedictory interview. Pour Mohammadi, a hardliner who nevertheless never belonged to the president's inner circle, was dismissed as interior minister in the seventh ministerial change since Ahmadinejad took power in August 2005. Ahmadinejad has been criticised by more moderate conservatives for filling his cabinet with close confidantes at the expense of better qualified technocratic officials. In comments throwing an almost unprecedented light on the inner workings of Iranian politics, Pour Mohammadi revealed that he had first been asked to resign in August 2006. "I was asked to resign. This message was given to me by Dr (Gholam Hossein) Elham from the president," he said, referring to the government spokesman who is one of Ahmadinejad's closest confidants. "I told them that I will not resign. But on the other hand I did not insist on remaining in my post. I did not ask to be assigned here but was not ready to resign." Pour Mohammadi's comments also underline that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei plays a key role in approving key cabinet changes in ministries such as intelligence, interior, foreign and defence. He said he would only have resigned then "if the supreme leader asked me to. So the issue was conveyed to the supreme leader and he said, 'It is not in the interest (of the system), remain in your post.'" "Apparently supreme leader talked to president and he (Ahmadinejad) did not mention it again (the issue of resignation)." "But in late March 2008, the president told me 'I have to see you by the end of the week'. I talked to the president and he said the change will happen and I said 'fine'." "As far as I know, the supreme leader kept silent. Then this was interpreted as a sign of satisfaction but his office said, 'No, the supreme leader does not want to make any comment about it.'" Pour Mohammadi first served after the 1979 Islamic revolution as a prosecutor in provincial courts dealing with "anti-revolutionary crimes." He later became deputy intelligence minister in former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's government which was in office from 1989-1997. The paper accorded the interview by Pour Mohammadi - Hamshahri - is owned by the Tehran municipality which is run by mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, one of Ahmadinejad's most vehement critics. In his latest assault against the president, Qalibaf complained about figures who he said were styling themselves as anti-corruption fighters "to get power and eliminate others." Ahmadinejad has repeatedly vowed to root out corruption in Iran and what he has described as an "economic mafia" close to the centre of power. "At first, the people believed the accusers were the heroes of the fight against corruption but when people saw that nothing was happening there was a crisis of confidence," Qalibaf wrote on his weblog. "An atmosphere of tumult, noise, slogans, accusations and immorality favours corruption and the corrupt can work even better in such a climate," he added.