- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran‘s parliament on Tuesday decided to summon President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning over a long list of accusations, including that he mismanaged the nation’s economy.

The summons was the first of its kind for an Iranian president since 1979. It follows a petition by a group of lawmakers for a review of policy decisions by Mr. Ahmadinejad, who has come under increasing attacks in recent months from the same hard-liners who brought him to power.

It is also part of a power struggle on the Iranian political scene ahead of March 2 parliamentary elections and the 2013 presidential vote.

Mohammad Reza Bahnoar, the parliament deputy speaker, said lawmakers have demanded that Mr. Ahmadinejad answer a slew of questions on the economy, including purportedly bypassing a special budget for the Tehran subway and public transportation.

He is also to be queried about foreign and domestic policy decisions.

“There is a requirement for the president to answer questions in an open session of the parliament,” said Mr. Bahnoar, whose parliament speech was broadcast live on Iranian state radio.

A letter containing the summons is to be sent to Mr. Ahmadinejad in next two days, according to the parliament statement. Under Iranian law, he has up to one month to appear in parliament. After that, it’s unclear what would happen if Mr. Ahmadinejad fails to make himself available.

Mr. Ahmadinejad also will be asked why he “hesitated for 11 days” to act on a demand by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to reinstate Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi, who was sacked by Mr. Ahmadinejad in 2011, and to elaborate on his snap dismissal of former Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki during a trip to Africa.

The power struggle has pitted Mr. Ahmadinejad against Ayatollah Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in Iran. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his policies have been the target of criticism by lawmakers and clerics as well as state-run media.

Other questions that will be put to the president include those about Iran‘s slacking economic growth and why his administration failed to promote the Islamic dress code that calls for women to wear the traditional veil. Lawmakers behind the initiative allege Mr. Ahmadinejad promoted Iranian nationalism instead of Islamic values.

According to the statement, Mr. Ahmadinejad is also to explain his ties to Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, whose daughter is married to the president’s son. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s opponents content he is trying to push Mr. Mashaei for president after his own term expires next year.

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