AFP: An Iranian government aide was banned from parliament on Sunday for seeking to pay MPs to vote against impeaching the interior minister, who lied about his education.
TEHRAN (AFP) — An Iranian government aide was banned from parliament on Sunday for seeking to pay MPs to vote against impeaching the interior minister, who lied about his education.
Government parliamentary representative "Mohammad Abbasi is not allowed to enter parliament," parliament speaker Ali Larijani said in a speech to the house carried live on the state radio.
Last week Abbasi offered MPs cheques for 50 million rials (5,215 dollars) to help mosques in their districts.
The MPs were unaware that a second sheet they were signing along with the receipt was a pledge not to vote to censure Interior Minister Ali Kordan.
Larijani denounced Abbasi's "deception" and urged the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deal with the issue and remove "all ambiguities."
"Nobody has the right to play with parliament's honour like this," he said.
Parliament will vote on Tuesday whether to impeach Kordan for "dishonesty" after he confessed to holding a fake Oxford University degree, an admission which has caused major embarrassment to Ahmadinejad's government.
Kordan, who only took office in August, has been under pressure to resign since the prestigious British university denied awarding him a qualification through a representative, as he had claimed.
On Wednesday a conservative Tehran MP reportedly slapped Abbasi across the face in the corridors of the parliament over cash handouts and obtaining signatures.
Several MPs have complained that provincial representatives to the house came under pressure and were given promises to make them abandon their intention to vote to impeach Kordan, press reports said.
"The 50-million-rial cheques are part of the interior ministry's campaign against the impeachment motion," MP Rouhollah Jani Abbaspour said, quoted by Kargozaran newspaper.
Kordan replaced Ahmadinejad critic Mostafa Pour Mohammadi in one of the many cabinet reshuffles. The president has been supporting Kordan throughout the controversy.
Ahmadinejad's aide in parliamentary affairs, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, has also infuriated MPs by defending Abbasi and accusing the lawmakers of lying.