08232014Sat

Ahmadinejad off the hook as Iran's parliament withdraws summons

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's parliament called off plans to grill President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said they must not act in the interests of Iran's enemies.

Ahmadinejad's opponents in the 290-seat assembly dominated by conservatives wanted to question him about an economic crisis that they blame as much on his mismanagement as on Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

Economic woes have forced up prices of goods, diminished the value of the Iranian currency and exacerbated divisions within Iran's factionalized political system.

"Up to this point, the plan to question the president has been positive because of the sense of responsibility of parliament and the readiness of government officials," said Khamenei, the 73-year-old cleric who holds ultimate power.

"But if this issue goes any further, it will be what the enemies want and so I ask the honorable representatives not to continue with it," the Mehr news agency reported him saying.

Seventy-seven lawmakers had backed the plan to grill Ahmadinejad and questions were expected to focus on the currency fluctuations and what they said was the mistaken allocation of limited government-subsidized dollars, including for the import of thousands of foreign cars.

A spokesman for the group, Avaz Heydarpour, confirmed that the summons had been withdrawn following Khamenei's request, Mehr reported.

Once the favored presidential candidate of Iran's hardliners who backed his re-election over reformists at a disputed 2009 election, Ahmadinejad has fallen from favor within the deeply factionalized conservative ranks that rule the Islamic Republic.

In March, he became the first president in the history of the Islamic Republic to be called before the legislature and had looked likely to have to relive the humiliating experience.

During an hour-long session, he responded in a confident and at times flippant tone to questions about his economic record and his allegiance to Khamenei. Lawmakers said they were left baffled and angered by his performance.

In recent weeks, he has fired back at the judiciary and legislature, bringing into full public view a feud between himself and the powerful Larijani brothers, Ali, the parliament speaker, and Sadeq, the judiciary chief.

In a letter to Sadeq Larijani published in October, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary had unjustly imprisoned his top press aide and that it was acting outside the bounds of Iran's constitution.

(Reporting By Marcus George; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Search

Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE