Iran parliament begins questioning President Ahmadinejad on multiple accusations
Mar 14, 2012
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s parliament began Wednesday to question President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over a long list of accusations, including that he mismanaged the nation’s economy and challenged the country’s supreme leader. Ahmadinejad is the first president in the country’s history to be hauled before the Iranian parliament, a serious blow to his standing in a conflict pitting him against lawmakers and the country’s powerful clerical establishment. The summons follows a long-awaited petition by a group of lawmakers for a review of policy decisions by Ahmadinejad, who has come under increasing attacks in recent months from the same hard-liners who brought him to power. Conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari, a prominent opponent of the president, read out a series of questions to Ahmadinejad in an open session of parliament broadcast live on state radio. Some of the most hard-hitting focused on Ahmadinejad’s alleged defiance of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, over the choice of intelligence chief. Ahmadinejad resisted for 11 days an order from Khamenei to reinstate intelligence minister Heidar Moslehi who had been sacked by the president in April 2011. The president was also asked about a dramatic hike in prices and his failure to provide a budget to Tehran’s subway system. The lawmakers also asked about the government’s allegedly accelerated implementation of an austerity plan to slash energy and food subsidies.